Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja Saturday asked the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government to immediately move Supreme Court and bring Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water to the state. Her remarks come two days day after an all-party meeting in Punjab unanimously resolved to call for a new tribunal to assess river water availability in that state.
Selja, Rajya Sabha MP, said Haryana has the right on the water of SYL canal and it has been validated by the Supreme Court. “The decision of political parties of Punjab regarding not to provide water to Haryana is a clear violation of the SC orders,” she told reporters here.
Though the resolution adopted by Punjab parties did not specifically name the SYL canal, a portion of it read that “it is unanimously resolved that the Government of India should ensure that river water in Punjab is not in any way transferred from basin to non-basin areas of three rivers, namely Ravi, Sutlej and Beas, as per internationally accepted riparian principle”. Punjab is ruled by Congress.
Selja said, “Haryana Congress and people have struggled a lot in the courts on the issue of SYL. We will not back down in claiming our constitutional rights. We are determined to claim our right and we will fight for the interest of people with full force”.
Selja said Haryana was given its share of water by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1976. In 1981, the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan signed an agreement to build SYL Canal in the presence of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1982, Gandhi started the construction of canal in village Kapuri of Patiala, she noted.
The historic Rajiv Longowal Accord was signed in 1985, under which the Iradi Commission was constituted and at that time the Congress Government had advocated for Haryana in front of the Commission, which gave right of 3.83 million feet of water to Haryana, she said.
“The Supreme Court’s decision of the year 2002 and 2004 on SYL in favour of Haryana came into force. Even after this, when Haryana did not get its rightful share of water then in the year 2016, the Supreme Court took a historic decision and gave a clear order to the central government to construct the SYL canal,” she said.
In 2019, with the Supreme Court directions to both states to resolve the matter by forming committees of their officials, it was clarified that if both the states do not construct the canal with mutual consent, the Supreme Court will itself get the canal constructed, she claimed.
Giving statistics to support her demand, Selja said, “Haryana has about 40 lakh hectares of cultivable land, of which 33 per cent is irrigated through canal water, 50 per cent through tube wells and 17 per cent is irrigated by rain water. A network of canals is spread over 30 lakh hectares of land in Haryana, but due to no water, they remain dry”.
“Today Haryana is craving for water and farmers of the state are in dire need of water. Haryana has right on the SYL water and the state will take it because the Supreme Court has given judgement many times in favour of Haryana,” she said. The haryana Congress chief said that the “state government should immediately move the Supreme Court on this issue and bring SYL water to the state and the Centre should also explain its position” in this matter. “It was the responsibility of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to get Haryana its rightful share of water, but why the central government is silent,” she said. .
Selja said the Supreme Court had asked the central government to distribute the water of the SYL Canal between Punjab and Haryana, they why the Centre is not taking any steps for it.
“Is it not true that the Prime Minister did not give time to the parties of Haryana to meet them on SYL issue? After all this, why did not the state government pressurize the central government to get SYL water? Haryana government should clarify what concerted efforts it has taken in this matter during the last three years,” she added.
Selja claimed that Haryana Congress will play a leading role in this struggle and for the implementation of decision of the Supreme Court. “Non-compliance of orders is a clear violation of the Supreme Court,” she said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines