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January 18, 2002
0138 IST

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SYL canal verdict only adds to Badal's woes

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

The Supreme Court's directive to the Punjab government to complete construction of the long-pending Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal within one year could not have come at a worse time for Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal.

The Punjab assembly elections are due on February 14 and the emotive issue has the potential to bring down governments.

Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala has understandably hailed the judgment.

Once completed, the canal will deliver some waters of the Satluj to Haryana.

The Haryana government, while submitting that it has completed work on its portion of the SYL canal, accused Punjab of depriving its farmers of the potential benefits from the project by not completing its share of the work.

Farmers in Punjab, who form an influential pressure group, strongly oppose the sharing of Sutlej waters.

Hence, the Badal government has decided to file a revision petition in the Supreme Court.

Badal had assured the farmers of Punjab that the state government would not allow even a single drop of its water to go to Haryana.

"We would knock every single door to ensure that injustice is not done to the people of Punjab," Finance Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh told newspersons in Chandigarh.

Though the opposition Congress is already expected to reap the benefits of the anti-incumbency factor, this opportunity appears to be too good to pass.

State Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh accusing the Badal government of betraying the people of Punjab.

Adding to Badal's woes, three ministers have resigned in protest against of denial of party tickets.

Senior Akali Dal leaders admit that the resignations had dealt a major blow to the party and also that the party was hoping for a favourable verdict to tide over the resentment among those denied party tickets.

"The adverse verdict was a bolt from the blue," a senior Badal aide said.

RELATED REPORT:
Akali Dal's poll campaign hurt by Badal's injury: PTI

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