Ahead of the next Supreme Court hearing on the presidential reference pertaining to the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, a delegation of BJP leaders from Punjab met the Union Home Minister to tell him that Punjab was not in a position to share any water with Haryana.
BJP leaders met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in his North Block office. The BJP leaders’ delegation was learnt to have urged Singh to find an amicable solution to the issue, especially due to the fact that Haryana was also ruled by the BJP government and for Punjab the issue was bound to have significant political ramifications with elections due in 2017.
BJP ministers in the Punjab coalition government Madan Mohan Mittal and Surjit Kumar Jayani on Friday skipped the state cabinet meeting to meet Rajnath Singh on Friday. They were accompanied by Vijay Sampla, BJP Member of Parliament from Hoshiarpur and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in Modi led NDA government , and Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna.
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The leaders were learnt to have told Rajnath that Punjab BJP was not averse to share water with Haryana, but only if there was surplus water in Punjab. The BJP leaders may meet Union minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharati.
While Khanna, when contacted, said that though he did go to meet Rajnath Singh, he said he went for “some other work”. Jyani, however, told that the delegation of BJP leaders apprised Rajnath Singh of the “ground reality” of the situation in Punjab.
“We told him that the farmers in Punjab were already struggling to get adequate canal water. We told that many canals in the state had water for only six months in a year and until the farmers of the state do not get the adequate water, Punjab was not in a position to share any water with Haryana,” Jyani told The Indian Express.
The water sharing issue, notably, is once again at centrestage as BJP-led centre government took a pro-Haryana in a Supreme Court hearing on Monday.
On Monday, a five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court began hearings on the presidential reference pertaining to Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004. The Bill was passed by the Punjab Assembly had passed the bill terminating water sharing agreements of Punjab with neighbouring states when Capt Amarinder Singh was the chief minister, jeopardising the construction of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar who appeared on behalf of the centre told the Bench that the Centre stood by the Supreme Court judgements that the canal should go ahead. The next hearing is on March 8.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had said, “Punjab does not have a single drop of water to spare from its rivers and his party will fully ensure that there is no compromise on the inalienable rights of the state under the Riparian Principle.”