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SYL row: Centre calls meeting of Punjab, Haryana CMs; Bhagwant Mann reiterates old stand

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has called a meeting of chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab on December 28 to discuss the issue of Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said on Thursday.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said he will attend the meeting, but reiterated that the state has no spare water to share with any other state.

Besides chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana, officials from both the states will also be attending the meeting in Chandigarh, Khattar further said.

“SYL is a serious issue. Union Minister Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has called a meeting on the SYL issue on December 28 in Chandigarh. The chief ministers of both the states and Jal Shakti minister will be participating in it,” Khattar told reporters here.

The date of the meeting was decided on Wednesday, the Haryana CM said.

When asked about the proposed meeting, Punjab Chief Minister Mann said that the state has not even a single drop of water to share with other states and this will be conveyed firmly in the meeting.

“We had met earlier also. I will go to the meeting. We will meet and sit…I had met earlier also. We will see if the Centre has any new offer of finding a solution,” Mann told reporters in Hoshiarpur.

Mann said he will firmly present Punjab’s case before the Union government in the meeting.

Neither he had asked for the survey of the SYL nor he was a party to the ground breaking ceremony of canal with “silver spade”, so he will vehemently plead for interests of the state, said the Punjab CM.

The SYL canal issue has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for the past several years.

The canal was conceptualised for effective sharing of water between the two states from the Ravi and Beas rivers.

The project envisages a 214-kilometre canal, of which a 122-kilometre stretch is to be constructed in Punjab and the remaining 92 kilometres in Haryana.

Replying to a question, Khattar said that the Haryana government wants the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict on the construction of SYL canal.

Emphasizing the distinction between water availability and requirement versus canal construction, he highlighted that a tribunal has to decide on the water share issue.

The apex court had on October 4 asked the Centre to survey the portion of land in Punjab which it was allocated for the construction of part of the SYL canal and make an estimate of the extent of construction carried out there.

Haryana has completed the project in its territory but Punjab, which launched the work in 1982, shelved it.

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