Speaking on the first day of Punjab’s Vidhan Sabha, Punjab and Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki on Tuesday supported Punjab’s claim to water from its rivers. He added that the Centre must resolve the “injustice and discrimination” meted out to the state.
Over the last week, Punjab has repeatedly maintained that it cannot share its water with Haryana as it is itself suffering from shortage of water.
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Solanki said that if the reliance on tubewell irrigation water continued, the state could turn into a desert in the near future. “The only solution to the danger that looms large over our heads lies in Punjab’s right on the waters of its rivers being safeguarded,” he said.
The Governor said that the state government has consistently been seeking a solution to the river water issue through the implementation of the nationally and internationally-accepted Riparian principle on the distribution of waters. His statement on the issue comes on the heels of the renewed hearing over the water sharing dispute between Punjab and Haryana.
Solanki, who is also administrator of Chandigarh, commented on the “discrimination” of the people of the state by the successive governments at the centre by their “brazen refusal” to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab and the non-inclusion of Punjabi speaking areas which have been left out in the reorganisation of the state.
The Congress walked out from the house over the issue of SYL canal and and ineptness handling of the state government in the water disputes issue. Congress MLAs came to then house wearing black ribbons and led by the leader of their legislature group, Charanjit Singh Channi, they shouted slogans against the government and trooped out of the house.
Continuing his speech as the opposition benches fell vacant, the Governor highlighted the steps taken by the state government to address the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and the resolve to punish the guilty in the strictest possible manner.
He also praised the response of the Punjab police in Dinanagar and Pathanjot air base fidayeen attacks. Solanki touched upon the issue of the tax concessions given to the Punjab’s neighboring states and said that this has caused a major blow to the economy of Punjab.
“Because of these concessions, the Punjab entrepreneurs no longer have a fair, competitive and level playing field,” he said.
His address also included a demand for addressing issues pertaining to the Sikh community in other countries which concerned their religious identity and asked for direct and unhindered access to their religious shrines in Pakistan, including Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.