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SYL fight: Punjab, Haryana leaders to meet President next week

Chandigarh : After battling it out in the court of law and political platforms, leaders of Punjab and Haryana are all set to take their fight over the controversy over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to President Pranab Mukherjee next week. Leaders from both states are slated to meet the president on Monday in New Delhi.

As per separate statements issued by both state governments, the delegations of both states have been given the same time – November 28 at 6.15 pm, for the meeting.

The move by leaders from both states follows the recent verdict of the Supreme Court which said that the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004, was in violation of constitutional provisions.

“Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will call on the President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan at 6.15 p.m. on Monday, to draw his attention to the grave injustice being done to Punjab through brazen violation of the universally accepted Riparian Principle on river waters issue,” a spokesman for the Punjab Chief Minister said on Saturday.

“An all-party delegation headed by Haryana Chief Minister Mr Manohar Lal will call on President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on November 28 at 6.15 p.m. and urge him to get the decision of the Supreme Court on Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal implemented at the earliest,” a Haryana government spokesman, quoting Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said here on Saturday.

Badal will be accompanied by all the members of his council of ministers and all Members of Parliament from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance in the state, said the Punjab government spokesman.

He said that the delegation will “stress the need for resolving the river waters issue strictly as per the Riparian Principle which had been adopted in all similar disputes in the country in which a state through which a river does not pass has no right on the waters of that river”.

“In the case of Punjab, neither Sutlej nor Ravi and Beas pass through Haryana and Rajasthan, and therefore, those states cannot claim a share on the waters of these rivers as a matter of right,” he added.

The Punjab government has already declared that Punjab would accept no decision on river water issue which violates the nationally and internationally accepted riparian principle. It has also de-notified the acquisition of land acquired for the SYL canal. The land acquired for the canal almost four decades ago has been transferred back to the original owners.

The Punjab assembly, in an unprecedented move recently, had directed the Punjab government, its council of ministers and government officers and officials not to hand over land to any agency for the construction of the SYL canal.

The assembly also resolved that the Punjab government should levy a cost on Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi for the water supplied to the non-riparian states over the past many years.

The Punjab government had earlier declared that it will neither accept the Supreme Court verdict nor implement it. It said that Punjab did not have a single drop of water to spare for other states.

The Haryana delegation will comprise Chief Minister Khattar, senior ministers of the Haryana government, ruling BJP leaders and leaders of the Congress, Indian National Lok Dal, BSP, Akali Dal, and others.

Khattar said that Haryana alone was supplying water to national capital Delhi and other states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan should also contribute.

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