Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar would meet on Tuesday to discuss the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue. Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat would also join the meeting through video conferencing.
The meeting has been convened after Supreme Court directions to Centre on July 28 to mediate between the two states over the issue.
This will be for the first time that both the Chief Ministers will be meeting on the important matter. Earlier, officials have held meetings. The SC had given three weeks time to convene the meeting.
Both the states have been sticking their stand on the issue of sharing of waters. Punjab has made it clear that it does not have a drop to spare and it has been claiming that as per the riparian principle, it had the first right on water.
Punjab has also been claiming that its underground aquifers were drying fast and it cannot part with water to supply it to Haryana. Sources in Punjab government said the CM will continue to be firm on the state’s stand even in Tuesday’s meeting. The report of the meeting will be submitted to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Khattar held a meeting with senior officers of irrigation department at Haryana Bhawan in Delhi Monday evening. Additional Chief Secretary (irrigation) Devender Singh and newly appointed Engineer-in-Chief Rakesh Chauhan were present. Haryana officials said state’s southern areas are facing major problems of water for drinking and irrigation purposes. “Loharu block of Bhiwani district has received lowest rainfall — which is just 6 mm — in north India this year,” said an official while stressing for the need of SYL canal.
Earlier in the day, Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana, Deepender Singh Hooda accused the state BJP government for failing to put a political pressure on the central government to get completed the construction of SYL canal. “Let’s see what comes out of it (the meeting), I don’t want to pre-judge it but the SC decision was in our favour. That time, the (Haryana BJP) government failed to act, even to take an appointment with the PM to get it implemented. Meanwhile, Punjab explored other options.now we have to sit and talk,” he said.
The Congress leader alleged that the Haryana BJP government failed to take an appointment to meet the Prime Minister over SYL issue despite a decision on this in an all-party meeting more than three years back. “Now, the CM should explain why the PM did not give time to Haryana during all these years. Because of (state BJP) government, it seems the interests of Haryana have moved a step back,” said Deepender.
Two days after the Punjab government in November 2016 had denotified land acquired for the SYL Canal, all political parties of Haryana had decided to meet the then President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to request them for early implementation of the SC decision on the issue.
Earlier, former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda had said that apex court had given its verdict in Haryana’s favour and “the order had attained finality”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines