Haryana Agriculture Minister Jai Prakash Dalal on Sunday appealed to those “participating” in and “supporting” the farmers’ protest to include the issue of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project in their list of demands.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday morning, Dalal said, “It is true that the movement has started from our neighboring state, most of the participation has also been from there. Nowadays, some people from our state also, some Khaps, former chief ministers…independent MLAs, are supporting the movement…each person’s emotion is attached with the farmer, every person says I am with the farmer. Even I say that I am first a farmer, then a minister, I am also with the farmer.”
“But for the farmers of Haryana, at this time, if there is any big issue, it is water for irrigation. All other issues are secondary…In 7 to 8 districts of South Haryana, the situation is such that water levels have reduced, somewhere 400 feet…500 feet…800 feet, water has finished…If water is not there, how will crops come? If there is no crop, who will decide a price? So to all the people participating in this movement, supporting it, having a direct role or indirect role, I have one request, get one line added to the demands of this movement, that Haryana’s SYL canal should be constructed,” he said.
When asked about claims made by former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda earlier this week that JJP and BJP MLAs were in touch with him, Dalal said, “I do not want to talk of politics today.”
Relations between Punjab and Haryana have been strained over the SYL canal issue since 1982, a year after 3.5 MAF of the water flowing down from Beas and Ravi was allocated to Haryana. Of the 17.17 MAF,4.22 MAF had been allocated to Punjab and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.
In order to provide its share of the water to South Haryana, a plan had been formulated to create a 214 km-long canal linking Sutlej and Yamuna, of which 122 km was supposed to run through Punjab and the rest through Haryana. While Haryana has completed its portion of the canal, that in Punjab remains incomplete.
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