Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Monday suggested that all-party meetings, under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, be convened to evolve a consensus and formulate a national strategy for tackling the deteriorating water situation in the country
Amarinder made the suggestion during a courtesy call on Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in Delhi. He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Water is a national problem which needs to be discussed and resolved at national level. The all-party meetings could be held region-wise to make the process more streamlined and effective, with the Prime Minister chairing each of them. These meetings would help develop consensus on steps needed to save the precious natural resource,” a government statement quoting CM said.
The CM said the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue between Punjab and Haryana was not discussed during the meeting as it was sub-judice.
The Chief Minister revealed that the problem of Punjab’s Buddha Nallah came up for discussion and he had assured Shekhawat that work was in progress to clean it. The state government has set a two-year deadline for the task, he added.
The CM also informed the Union minister that STPs were being operationalised to ensure that the Buddha Nallah is not further polluted up by industrial affluent.
The government statement claimed that Shekhawat appreciated the “Punjab bijli bachao paisa kamao” scheme. Pointing out that 85 per cent water goes into irrigation, he said even if 10 per cent of that could be saved, India’s water crisis could be solved for the next 50 years. Punjab, he said, could take the lead in this campaign, with incentivisation playing a major role in encouraging people to save water.
Amarinder said the state government was planning to launch a major programme of ground water recharging by using defunct tube wells.
The Union minister asked Punjab to reduce the area under paddy cultivation, in response to which the CM stressed the need for the central government to support purchase of alternate crops like maize on MSP.
Earlier, Amarinder said he had called on the PM since he had not met him so far during the latter’s second term. He took the opportunity to discuss the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. The prime minister confirmed his participation in the mega event and assured of all possible help to make the programme a grand success, befitting the historic occasion, the CM said in a statement.
The legacy issue of the Rs 31,000 crore food debt also came up for discussion and the prime minister said that he was seized of the matter, said Amarinder.