Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal dispute: Punjab CM Badal refuses water to Haryana, AAP to hold morcha

Following the Supreme Court's verdict on Thursday of the Punjab government's 2004 law as unconstitutional to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water-sharing agreement with its neighbouring states, MP Amarinder Singh along with 42 Congress MLAs submitted their resignation in protest.

Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal dispute: Punjab CM Badal refuses water to Haryana, AAP to hold morcha

Yamuna. Reuters.

The 43 MLAs are expected to personally handover their resignations on Friday to Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, said a report in The Indian Express.

"Haryana will never get the water," Amarinder Singh told News18, and also blamed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for entering into the water-sharing agreement.

Reacting to the verdict, Badal assured the people of Punjab that only the SAD can make sure that Punjab "will not let the water go" and that the resignation by the Congress party members was just drama, reported ANI. Badal also said, "Punjab ka paani kahin nahi jaayga, nahin jayga aur nahin jaayga (Punjab's water will not go anywhere)." Badal then stressed that SYL canal dispute was not political but "a livelihood and economic issue".

The Aam Aadmi Party has announced an indefinite morcha at Kapoori village from Friday to protest against the SC verdict — Kapoori village, located in Patiala, is where Indira Gandhi had performed the stone-laying ceremony of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in 1982, reports The Indian Express. The report also mentioned that AAP would not allow the implementation of the verdict if it came to power in Punjab. BJP MLA Vijay Sampla called Amarinder Singh's resignation "another excuse to stay away" from Parliament as he was "anyway never seen" there, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, Haryana minister called the verdict a "ray of hope" and advised Punjab CM Badal to accept the decision to give water to Haryana.

The Bains brothers (Balwinder and Simarjeet Singh Bains), who floated Lok Insaaf party ahead of the Punjab elections, have asked Badal to convene an emergency session of the Assembly, adding that they will wait for two or three days for the session, else they will submit their resignations as well, according to The Indian Express.

The Supreme Court on Thursday responded in "negative" to all the four questions referred to it by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on the constitutional validity of the law passed by then Punjab government-led by Captain Amrinder Singh to nullify the court verdicts and unilaterally terminating the almost three-decade old SYL water sharing agreement.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice AR Dave said in its advisory verdict, "Once a conclusion is arrived at to the effect that one state, which is a party to the litigation or an agreement, cannot unilaterally terminate the agreement or nullify the decree of the highest court of the country, the state of Punjab cannot discharge itself from its obligation which arises from the judgment and decree dated 15, January, 2002, and the judgment and order dated 4 January, 2004 of the apex court."

The controversial 1981 water sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. The Indus Waters Treaty, 1960 which was executed between India and Pakistan, later led to inter-state division of water share among states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Punjab, which was entitled to 7.20 million acre feet (including 1.30 MAF for Pepsu) out of 15.85 MAF of surplus water from Bhakra-Nangal project, was required to give 3.5 MAF water to Haryana from its own share.

For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct its portions in their territory.

Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab after initial work, stopped the work leading to a spate of litigations. In 2004, the Congress government of the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 11, 2016 12:46:32 IST

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