Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Sunday, took strong exception to the statement of union water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal regarding the Centre's proposal to shift the subject of sharing of river waters from the state list to the concurrent list.
"The Centre's intended move to transfer the subject to the concurrent list with the purported objective of dealing with water scarcity and promoting conservation in national interest is against the basic spirit of federalism and would further weaken the states," Badal said in a statement here.
He said that such a move would encroach upon the rights of the states, depriving them of their legitimate and justified constitutional rights.
Badal said the Centre should desist from taking this "undemocratic step", which would lead to widespread resentment among the states. "The Centre should rather sincerely strive to resolve inter-state water issues within the ambit of settled and internationally accepted principles of the riparian law," he said.
Bansal, at a joint press conference with union home minister P Chidambaram here on Friday, had said that the "consultative committee of Parliament on a new national water policy" had recommended the transfer of the subject from the state list to the concurrent list.
Opposing the move, Badal said on Sunday that Chidambaram had kept the chief ministers in the dark on the water issue at the north zone chief ministers' conclave.
He said he was pained to note that while Chidambaram had asked all the chief ministers not to raise any contentious issue like river water-sharing and territorial disputes, Bansal had disclosed the parliamentary panel's move on the water issue at a press conference hours after the CMs' conference.
Badal said the SAD had always been a votary of a strong federal structure and any attempt on the part of the Centre to deprive Punjab of its legitimate share of river waters would not be tolerated at any cost. He said his views on having in place a genuine federal structure were also endorsed by Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.