Rs. 191-crore cheque (no. 997640 of State Bank of India) on behalf of a treasury officer of the Punjab government was sent along with a letter by the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal to the Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar, which stated, “The council of ministers has decided to return all the funds received by the state of Punjab from Haryana for the SYL canal. I am therefore enclosing the cheque.”
Also, Mr. Badal proposed to return the entire land free of cost to the farmers 40 years after it was acquired. The proposal may be totally in keeping with the spirit of Punjab and in the best interests of its people.
Considerably, the Punjab Government’s stand on the river waters issue has been consistent and Shiromani Akali Dal has also made it known that there will never be any compromise on the rights of Punjab as a Riparian State from where these rivers originate. The ruling party has often said that it is ready for any sacrifice on this issue but it will not allow waters to go to neighbouring states.
Noticeably, a resolution was passed by the Haryana assembly against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government de-notifying the 3,928-acre land acquired for SYL canal Bill. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had in 1982 laid the foundation stone of the canal to share waters of Punjab with Haryana and Rajasthan.
Congress creating unrest over SYL issue
It is not only at the National level that the Congress party speaks the language of dissent, back in Punjab, the Congress party and its president, Capt Amarinder Singh have mastered the art of opposing everything that the ruling government proposes.
“The Punjab government is just trying to fool us and people of Punjab. They just want the matter to keep hanging in the court. They have just started the pseudo work of filling up the canal. It’s just an eye-wash. They know that Centre would not approve their Bill and neither will their ally BJP’s government in Haryana will allow it,” said Fatehgarh Sahib MLA and Congress national secretary Kuljit Singh Nagra.
To which Punjab revenue minister Bikram Majithia replied, “We would have already completed the filling up of the canal. This government is serious about safeguarding water interests of Punjab unlike you.”
Punjab has been over the years witnessed Shiromani Akali Dal’s contribution in the safeguarding the interests and rights of the people of Punjab, especially of the farmers and poor. SAD has always remained the sole champion of the brave peasantry of the country as well as the Punjab state.
“River water is a life line of Punjab farmers and the interests of farmers are very dear to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the oldest regional party of the country. The party’s contribution to the cause of the state and its people is audaciously written in blood”
On April 6, 1982, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started the SYL canal at Kapori village after she made an unconstitutional move in 1976 to award 75% of Punjab’s waters to non-riparian states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. The Amarinder government introduced the Termination of Water Agreement Act, 2004 in the Vidhan Sabha, to be rejected by the President.
SAD has put a full-stop on efforts of Capt Amarinder Singh to cheat farmers and make them believe they were leading the battle against releasing waters through the SYL canal to Haryana. The ruling party has often said that it is ready for any sacrifice on this issue but it will not allow waters to go to neighbouring states.
SAD consistent on SYL issue From the day this issue has arisen, the Punjab Government had been consistently saying that no compromise would be made on the rights of Punjab as a Riparian State from where these rivers originate.
The Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Parkash Singh Badal also emphasized that SAD will ensure that there is no compromise on the sharing of river waters with neighbouring Haryana under the Riparian Principle. However, the Punjab Congress and its chief, Capt Amarinder Singh for the heck of opposition launched a scathing attack on the government policies by resorting to a vilification campaign to mislead the gullible people of Punjab.
The Punjab cabinet would bring ‘Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill, 2016’ in the Assembly which will allow the government to restore land acquired for construction of SYL canal to its owners.
Also, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal , Union Food Processing Industries Minister had accused Capt. Amarinder Singh for paying lip service and issuing press statements for public consumption. “Punjabis have been suffering repeatedly at the hands of successive Congress governments even as Punjab Congress leaders continue to pay lip service to the demands of the State. The time has come to walk the talk. Amarinder Singh should either make the Congress high command toe his line on the issue of river waters or resign as a failed leader”, said Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Also, well known for its urge to be in power and media, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) intervened into the issue and its leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira challenged Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh to an open debate on the SYL issue. Let’s see whether Capt Amarinder Singh accepts the challenge or just pay lip service over the issue.