Former Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjit once again raised the issue of discrimination with the Doaba region compared to other parts of the state with regards to infrastructure when on Monday he took on the government for unfair distribution of water in Doaba.
Earlier, on the first day of the ongoing budget session, Rana Gurjit had complained about the poor quality of roads in the Doaba area and had asked the PWD Minister, Vijay Inder Singla, to take care of Doaba region too on the lines of Malwa. His comments had come on a question asked by SAD MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala on the poor quality of roads and he had demanded that an all party meeting of MLAs cutting across party lines be called to discuss the issue.
Interestingly, the Kapurthala MLA’s latest interjection in defence of the area in which his constituency falls again came on a question asked by SAD MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala. Praising the question pertaining to the status of brick-lining of the Bist Doaba canal, Rana Gurjit said that the work on the canal was going on for the past several years.
“This is a very good question. Akalis got work done on this canal for four-five years and now our government has been in power for two years. Doaba is not getting its water rights. Speaker saab you are also not getting your share of water so do something. Kandi area people have no water,” said the former minister sitting right behind the Irrigation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria.
Rana Gurjit went on to say that Doaba was not getting the fair percentage of share in state’s waters even though all major rivers run through the region. “Why is Dashmesh canal not being built? We are getting only 7.5 per cent of water share even though we constitute 19 per cent of land mass of the state. Why can’t we do a fair distribution of water? When we cannot share it fairly among us brothers then what are we going to do with Haryana,” he questioned. Speaking to The Indian Express, Rana Gurjit said that it was the right of the elected representatives to ask for facilities in their area. “If our government is in power that does not mean we do not ask for projects. Things will not happen on their own. When I speak about water rights for Doaba, I speak for the entire Punjab,” he said.
The former minister said that the Doaba region was water starved with black zones throughout the region. “We have been discriminated against. I had even written to the then Union Minister for Water Resources, Pawan Kumar Bansal, in 2013 asking for a survey to be done in Punjab by the National Institute of Hydrology,” he said.
When asked if it was not odd that he was raising about infrastructure problems when his own party is in power for past two years, Rana Gurjit said that on the contrary the Chief Minister had himself noted what he said. “Outside the House, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, told me that he had noted the valid points that I had raised inside the House,” he said.
Apart from Rana Gurjit, another Congress MLA, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the pace of work in his constituency in Khanna. Unhappy with the answer given to his question by the Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the MLA said that he was in two minds whether to say anything or not since his own government was in power.
“If I do not say anything then the people will say that I am voiceless. There are no roads, no sewers in Khanna.