September 7, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
Amritsar, Punjab (September 07, 2014): In order to sort out state’s financial problems, the Dal Khalsa has asked the Punjab government to shed the habit of “begging” from Union govt and instead focus on seeking royalty from non-riparian states for using Punjab’s river waters since many decades.
In the backdrop of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s letter to the Punjab government, in which he has ruled out any special financial package to the state, the organization has asked the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to set a deadline to get royalty from non-riparian states so as to put state’s financial house in order.
Party head H S Dhami said instead of “begging” for concessions and grants from the Union government, why can’t Badals dare to ask for royalty from non-riparian states (Rajasthan, Delhi and Haryana) or else the Punjab assembly should scrap Clause 5 of the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004.
He reminded the CM of his forgotten poll promise for scrapping clause 5 of the said Act to stop the illegal loot of river waters.
“Like minerals, river water is an asset of Punjab and any use of it by other states should be accounted for in terms of money,” he said.
“Water is natural resource for Punjab, like Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand has coal mines, Rajasthan has marble and several other states have iron ores. They are all charging royalty for mining,” he said.
“If these states can take royalty, why is Punjab being denied its right to royalty for water?” he said. He said Rajasthan used to pay royalty to Punjab before 1947.
He asserted Punjab was well within its right to ask for royalty from non-riparian states. However, in case it had to give its water to Haryana and other non-riparian states as goodwill gesture, Punjab on its own can strike a fresh deal with them. “There’s no room for central intervention as River Waters is a state subject”.
He took a serious view of Sukhbir Singh Badal’s utterances in Amritsar two days back that Punjab has fought a battle against terrorism to protect country’s integrity. “The Sikh struggle was not terrorism. It was a fight for justice, national honour, rights including right to self determination”. Taking a jibe at Sukhbir, he said “Your party and your father also participated in the same struggle though he and his coterie displayed sheer kind of opportunistic politics”.
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