Haryana CM Khattar reaches out to Punjab CM for talks on SYL canal

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has written to his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, stating that he was ready for a dialogue to resolve any hurdles in the way of the construction of the SYL canal. He said the Supreme Court order of October 4, 2023, explicitly stated that “the execution is not related to the allocation of water.”

The CM said residents of the state were anticipating the prompt construction of the canal in the Punjab region, as per a decree outlined in Original Case No. 6 of 1996. He conveyed his optimism that the Punjab Government would collaborate and contribute to the resolution of this matter.The Punjab CM had written a letter to Khattar on October 3, a day before the Supreme Court’s decision, requesting a bilateral meeting on the issue. Prior to this, the last meeting between the two was held on October 14, 2022. Later, the Union Jal Shakti Minister conducted a second round of discussions on January 4, 2023, during which the CMs of both states were present. All meetings concerning the canal had remained inconclusive, primarily due to the Punjab Government’s negative stance on the matter, Khattar claimed.

All meetings concerning the canal have remained inconclusive, primarily due to the Punjab Government’s negative stance on the matter. —Manohar Lal Khattar, Haryana CM

Despite two Supreme Court rulings, Punjab has yet to conclude the construction of the canal. Instead of adhering to the Supreme Court’s decisions, Punjab attempted to obstruct its implementation by enacting the Agreement Revocation Act in 2004. According to the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, and as per the Government of India’s order dated March 24, 1976, Haryana was allocated 3.5 million acre-feet (MAF) surplus waters of the Ravi and Beas. However, due to the non-construction of the canal, Haryana is only using 1.62 MAF of water, as per a press note here today.

The unavailability of this water has led to a significant decline in the groundwater levels in southern Haryana. Due to the non-construction of the canal, farmers in Haryana were forced to rely on expensive diesel for irrigation and run electric tube wells, incurring an additional cost of Rs 100-150 crore annually, it added.Karnal: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Sandeep Pathak said on Monday that the SYL was a political issue and surfaced only during the elections. “The BJP was in alliance with the SAD, and the Congress remained in power at the state and Centre, but they did not take any initiative to resolve the issue. Haryana should be given its share,” he said, interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of a meeting of party workers of the Karnal and Sonepat Lok Sabha constituencies here

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