July 3, 2010 | By Tejashdeep Singh
Patiala (July 3, 2010): Taking a strong exception to Union minister of water resources, Pawan Kumar Bansal’s claim that Punjab’s demand for royalty for water was baseless, the Sikh Students Federation has asserted that the Union leader had attempted to misguide the people by saying that “royalty on water does not exist anywhere”. SSF President Parmjeet Singh Gazi informed that even in case of genuine water sharing disputes, the Helsinki Regulation adopted by ‘International Law Association’ in 1966 provides for “the practicability of compensation to one or more of the co-basin States as a means of adjusting conflicts among uses”.
“It is evident from Article V (II) clause 10 of the Helsinki Regulation (1966) that consideration in form of compensation or royalty is a worldwide accepted phenomena to settle water sharing dispute between riparian and co-basin states” he added.
It is worth notable that Bikaner State was paying royalty to Punjab for the use of river water before partition of 1947, but the payment was withheld after 1947 at the behest of Union Government of India.
He said that in case of Punjab waters, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi are non-riparian states, and as such do not possess any right to use river water of Punjab. But as the water is already allocated to these states in a wrongful way, Punjab do deserve to be compensated in form of payment of ‘royalty’ for the use of such water by these non-riparian states, especially in a situation when this riparian state, due to such allocation, itself is forced to exploit its’ ground water resource.
“It could be termed as highest degree of ignorance to well known rules in this regard, when leaders from Haryana or Center claim that if Punjab’s claim for royalty is accepted then Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, and Tibbat or China, through which the rivers of Punjab pass, can also demand royalty” says the statement issued by SSF, which asserts that these states, as per their contribution to the river basin, are entitled to use the river water according to their needs, and unless they are not reasonable suffering shortage due to use of river water by Punjab, they cannot demand compensation in form of royalty. SSF asked Union authorities to address the issue in a sincere way and not to misguide the people by making baseless statements. Though the students’ organization insisted that ‘inherent right’ of the people of Punjab to use and control their natural resources is the core of the issue, and demand for compensation or royalty is just a corollary to it.
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