The Sutlej Yamuna link canal row on Friday heated up with Punjab assembly unanimously passing a resolution against its construction saying the state does not have water to share with Haryana, which accused Punjab of “crossing all limits” and decided to approach the Centre and Supreme Court.
The development came a day after Supreme Court directed status quo on land meant for the SYL canal after Haryana alleged that attempts have been made to alter its use by levelling it.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is Leader of the House, moved a resolution in the assembly saying that his state is facing “crisis of water” and does not have even one drop to share with others.
“In view of this neither was there ever a need to construct SYL canal then, nor it is there now,” the 88-year-old, five-time chief minister told the House.
The House unanimously resolved that it will not allow the SYL canal to be constructed.
Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi, who is Leader of the Opposition, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal from the Bharatiya Janata Party endorsed Badal’s view.
Channi said that Congress has and will always stand at the forefront to protect the interests of people of Punjab. “Badal, we are all with you on this issue,” he said.
Mittal, a senior BJP leader, said it is Shiromani Akali Dali-BJP government which has always stood up for the interest of Punjab. He said the state is facing shortage of water and there is no need to construct SYL.
His remarks came even as the BJP government in Haryana hit out at the Punjab government, saying it has crossed all limits and doesn’t have faith in country’s judicial system.
Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar said the Punjab assembly’s resolution against the construction of SYL canal in Punjab for carrying Haryana’s share of Ravi Beas was “unfortunate”.
He said the assembly passed the resolution despite SC on Thursday directed to maintain status quo.
“I feel Punjab government has crossed all its limits and doesn’t have faith in country’s judicial system. It has become judge on its own,” Dhankar told reporters.
“This move of the Punjab assembly was to deprive Haryana of its rightful share in river water,” he said.
“This is highhanded approach of Punjab,” he said, adding Haryana will bring this issue to the notice of the Centre and the Supreme Court.
“We believe in the judicial system,” Dhankar said.
The standoff over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal on Thursday saw MLAs of opposition Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana and Congress in Punjab attempting to storm each other’s assemblies as the dispute threatened to embroil Delhi whose Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal opposed construction of the canal.
Attacking Kejriwal, Dhankar had, in a letter said Haryana will not be able to deliver “your share of water to Delhi since you have stood against the interests of farmers and people of Haryana” and asked him to get “your own canal constructed for carrying Delhi’s share of water with your efforts”.