Resolve water dispute via talks, Amit Shah tells states at NZC meet

Union Home Minister Amit Shah today invited all members to resolve the water-sharing dispute with an open mind through mutual dialogue as he chaired the 31st North Zonal Council (NZC) meeting here.Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann reiterated that the state had no spare water to share from the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal with any other state. As many as 28 issues were taken up at the meeting, including distribution of inter-state river water, provision of bank branches and postal banking facility in villages, matters related to Punjab University, prevention of cybercrime, Jal Jeevan Mission and resumption of air services under UDAN scheme. The Union Home Minister assured the Centre was committed to security and vigilance of the borders and soon an anti-drone system would be established at the borders.

“Under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, the government has achieved success in curbing narcotics and terrorism. More recruitment in the Central Armed Police Force and the Army would be done from states of the northern region,” he said.

Promising compensation for the damage caused by floods in HP, Shah said: “All possible assistance will be given to Himachal.”

On the water distribution row between the states, he said: “Let’s discuss this matter with an open mind and giving impetus to the cooperative movement. It will help take more than 60 crore people of the country towards prosperity.”

He asked state representatives to take up issues such as dropout of schoolchildren and malnutrition on a priority basis. “Not even a single child should remain malnourished in the country and it would be our equal responsibility to reduce the school dropout rate,” he said.In his address, Mann said the compensation offered to farmers during the recent floods was too meagre and should be revised. He opposed the proposal of having a third member in the BBMB from an outside state because the body was constituted under the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, which dealt with Punjab and Haryana. He made a strong case for handing over of Chandigarh to Punjab.

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