The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the central Ghaggar standing committee to try to complete its task as early as possible to resolve the inter-state issue of taming the Ghaggar so that the river does not cause devastation in nearby villages due to floods in the monsoon.
The directions came from the division bench comprising of chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by the nagar panchayat, Moonak, in Sangrur district.
During the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the court, after hearing the detailed arguments of all counsels appearing for the petitioner, Punjab and Haryana observed, "It is an inter-state dispute. How can we decide the inter-state disputes in a public interest litigation when there is a Centre's standing committee constituted to address the same?"
The court ordered the central committee to find out an amicable solution to the problem at the earlier with the interaction with the state authorities concerned of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The states were also directed to comply with the directions of the committee subject to any appropriate legal remedy, if any such issue arises.
The Ghaggar starts from the lower Shivalik ranges near Dagshai in Himachal Pradesh and traverses through Punjab and Haryana before entering Rajasthan near Talwara village in Hanumangarh district and further moves to the India-Pakistan border. Because of the inter-state issues concerned with the river, the Centre had in February 1990 constituted the Ghaggar standing committee, including representatives of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan governments.
The committee's task is to examine and coordinate irrigation, flood control and drainage works in the Ghaggar basin and lay down priority of their implementation. It also accords clearance to individual schemes in the Ghaggar basin from inter-state angles.
The petitioner panchayat had sought directions to the authorities concerned to channelise the Ghaggar from Khanauri village to its entry point in Haryana, which is upstream of Chandpuri village. It was also prayed that an additional waterway should be constructed on existing breaches of the Ghaggar near Moonak village on the Moonak-Gohana road so as not to disrupt the free flow of water when the Ghaggar is in full floods. Directions were also sought to regulate and make functional the natural river channel on the old Ghaggar so that 23 villages falling in the area are not damaged due to flooding of the river.