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Punjab Govt. Gears Up to Introduce New Bill on Punjab River Waters in Emergency Session of Assembly

November 15, 2016 | By

Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led government in Punjab is reportedly all set to introduce a Bill in the emergency session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on November 16, 2016. As per media reports, the Government sources say that the Bill aims at essentially protecting the rights of the state over its river-waters. The government is asserting that on the principle that under the Constitution, the decision on releasing of river-waters through irrigation channels was the sole right of the state.

According to The Tribune (TT), highly placed sources say that the new Bill is being given its final shape. Though its initial draft was discussed on Monday, the final Bill will be ready by today (Nov. 15) after effecting certain changes as suggested by irrigation and experts. The final decision on bringing the Bill will be taken on Nov. 15.

Punjab State Assembly, Chandigarh [File Photo]

Punjab State Assembly, Chandigarh [File Photo]

Media reports tell that the new bill, if given go ahead, would assert that the state government had the right to determine the flow of its riverwaters as water falls in the state list (List 2, which now comprises 61 items) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, subject to the provisions of Entry 56 of List I.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is also likely to issue an appeal to the Indian Prime Minister and the President, besides all other law makers in the states as well as the Centre, to support Punjab’s cause.

On the other hand Congress party MLAs have announced not to participate in the Assembly session even though their resignations are not accepted yet. Congress chief Capt. Amarinder Singh has asked Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal to explain the status of Bill for de-acquisition of land acquired for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal passed during the last Assembly session to which Congress party had extended its support.

“The Badals could not get the Bill passed from the Governor as well as its ally, the BJP, which is also in power at the Centre. They must give an assurance that this time the Bill being brought during the special session on November 16 would be approved by the Governor and the BJP at the Centre”, said Amarinder.

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