In a bid to woo Punjab’s farmers ahead of state elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan with reference to the Indus Water Treaty.
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“The fields of our farmers must have adequate water. Water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan…Government will do everything to give enough water to our farmers,” said PM Modi in Bathinda where he inaugurated a new AIIMS. The prime minister said he is concerned more about the welfare of farmers than election arithmetics.
The Indus water treaty, signed by India and Pakistan in 1960, administers how waters of the Indus and its treaties are utilised. The treaty gives India control over Beas, Ravi and Sutlej rivers, while Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are governed by Pakistan. The Indus river flows out of India which, however, can use just 20 per cent of its water.
“We formed a task force on Indus water treaty to ensure farmers of Punjab and other states get each drop of water due to them,” PM Modi said.
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In a statement that was seen as a reference to the row over the Indus Water treaty, Pakistan recently warned against use of water as an instrument of coercion or war. “The international community must assume a responsibility to develop, nurture and protect normative frameworks, at multilateral and bilateral levels, to ensure that states remain willing to resolve water issues cooperatively,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said in her address to the UN Security Council during an open debate on water, peace and security.
Even as the Parliament witnessed commotion due to his absence from the House, the PM used the stage in Bathinda to urge farmers to stop burning the crop stubble. The burning of crop stubble across farm lands in Punjab and Haryana is being held responsible for high pollution levels in cities like Delhi.
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The prime minister also spoke about the positives of the demonetisation move telling the gathering that they will no longer have to carry large wads of notes or be afraid of robbers. He said the country will no longer be tied to cash and will be able to make transactions with cards and apps.