Punjab Refusing To Accept SC's Decision

Punjab Refusing To Accept SC’s Decision: Khattar

Punjab Refusing To Accept SC's Decision

In order to amicably resolve the issue of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, a meeting of both Haryana and Punjab Chief Ministers was held under the chairmanship of Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday at Shram Shakti Bhawan in the national capital.

Speaking to the media persons after the meeting, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar accused the Punjab government of not bringing up the issue of the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal on the agenda for discussion.
Khattar said that the Punjab government is only talking about the availability of water.

“We had a third meeting with the Punjab government on the SYL issue and are yet to find an amicable solution. They aren’t ready to bring the issue of SYL on agenda and are only talking about the availability of water. We’ll apprise the SC about it,” said Haryana CM Khattar.

However, Mann said that they want to save the Sutlej river and they will fight in Supreme Court.

“We want to save the Sutlej river. We have clearly stated that we don’t have water. Hence, we can’t give water to any state. We will fight in Supreme Court,” said the Punjab CM.

Notably, the SYL agreement was signed between Punjab and Haryana 42 years ago in the year 1981, but due to non-compliance, the dispute between the two states increased. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal was to be constructed and the two states were required to construct their portions within their territories.

While Haryana constructed its portion of the canal, after the initial phase, Punjab stopped the work, leading to multiple cases against it.

In 2004, the Punjab government had passed a law that unilaterally cancelled the SYL agreement and other such pacts; however, in 2016, the apex court struck down this law. Later, Punjab went ahead and returned the acquired land–on which the canal was to be constructed–to the landowners.

On the issue of SYL, both states have to file a reply in court on January 19, which is why this mediation meeting was called on Wednesday, which remained inconclusive.

During its September 6, 2022, hearing, the Supreme Court bench observed that natural resources have to be shared, particularly in view of the security scenario in Punjab.

“Water is a natural resource and living beings must learn to share it, whether it is individual or state. The matter cannot be looked at from the point of view of only one city or state. It’s the natural wealth to be shared and how it is to be shared is a mechanism to be worked out,” Justice Kaul said.

Attorney General for India KK Venugopal appearing for the Ministry, said that the Centre is trying to bring together the states of Punjab and Haryana.

Venugopal further said that Punjab is not cooperating in the matter. “The Centre had written a letter to the new Chief Minister of Punjab in April but there was no response,” he said.

To this, the bench directed all the parties to cooperate. “Either they sit and talk or the Court will order the execution of the decree. These issues should not be allowed to fester… It will allow forces that may not be amicable to the country to act and interfere,” observed the top court.

On July 28, 2020, the top court had asked the Chief Ministers of both states to make an attempt to resolve the issue amicably.

The Ministry had earlier held several meetings which were attended by Chief Secretaries of the two states but remained inconclusive.

Earlier, a meeting was held between CM Punjab Bhagwant Mann and CM Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar at Haryana CM’s residence in October, but Mann refused to construct the canal saying that there was no water surplus in Punjab. (ANI)

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