Union water resources minister Uma Bharti on Wednesday assured Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar that the central government would prepare a roadmap within 45 days for finding a solution to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and other inter-state issues with Punjab.
She said a meeting of the chief ministers of both states would be convened here soon for the purpose. Bharti told Khattar, who met her in New Delhi, that since the BJP was in power at the Centre and in Haryana and was also part of the ruling alliance in Punjab, such issues could easily be resolved amicably.
On the SYL issue, Khattar urged Bharti to get the hearing done early through the Attorney General on the presidential reference to the Supreme Court, pending for the past 10 years.
Stating that the SYL canal was Haryana’s lifeline, Khattar stated that in order to run the Hansi-Butana canal, the matter should be taken up with Punjab and its hearing got completed in the Supreme Court at the earliest.
Referring to Delhi’s demand for more water, the CM said Haryana had no additional water to offer. The Ravi-Beas link should be constructed soon to stop excess water from going to Pakistan so that the availability of water can go up in all states, he said, adding that work on three new bridges on the Yamuna should be started.
1981: Then PM Indira Gandhi lays foundation stone of Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal at Kapoori village in Patiala district, inviting protests from the Akali Dal-led Opposition in Congress-ruled Punjab.
1990: More than 114 km of the 121-km-long canal in Punjab’s territory completed by this year after spending more than `750 crore. Work abandoned after militants killed a number of labourers and two engineers engaged in the construction.
1996: Haryana moves Supreme Court against Punjab, seeking resumption of canal construction
2002: Apex court directs Punjab to complete construction
2004: Then Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh gets the assembly to pass ‘Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004’, annulling the 1981 agreement and all subsequent ones. In response, the Haryana assembly passes resolution urging the Centre to intervene to get the canal completed; Centre seeks apex court’s opinion on validity of Act through a Presidential reference, which is still pending.