Calling for de-linking all other inter-state issues from the water dispute with Punjab, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday said he would not mind exploring a political solution to the water dispute, but the neighbouring state too had to show willingness.
Hooda, who was speaking at the leaderspeak@ht programme organised by Hindustan Times at Gurgaon, agreed that an early solution to inter-state disputes would help Haryana grow faster. However, noting the non-implementation of an earlier political solution to the Punjab-Haryana water dispute worked out by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal accord), Hooda remarked, “Punjab is not ready to give Haryana a single drop of water.”
Interlinking of too many issues between Haryana and Punjab — water, territory, the joint capital town of Chandigarh -- has led to an impasse, according to Hooda. “Water is the main issue,” he stressed.
Asked if his government was looking at legal options to get its share of water, Hooda said Haryana was trying to get an early hearing in the matter from the Supreme Court. He was referring to the Presidential reference -- pertaining to the termination of water-sharing agreement legislation passed by Punjab assembly -- which is pending before the apex court. The President had referred the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 for opinion to the apex court by a reference of July 22, 2004. The matter was last listed before the court on July 14, 2009.
The legislation by Punjab terminated all agreements relating to the Ravi–Beas waters, including the agreement of 1981 signed by the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Haryana says it is unable to carry its share of 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) of Ravi-Beas water due to non-construction of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
At present, only 1.62 MAF water is being transported to Haryana through the existing BML canal. Haryana has constructed the BML Hansi-Butana multipurpose channel for supplying water to areas of the state that were to be originally fed through the SYL canal. But the Supreme Court stayed the linking of the Hansi-Butana channel to the Bhakra mainline.
In December 2012, Hooda, while speaking at the sixth meeting of the National Water Resources Council in Delhi, had blamed the centre for allowing the Presidential reference to linger on for more than eight years.
Talking about the growth and development of Haryana since 2005 when he took over the reins, Hooda said state ranks right on top in terms of per capita investment. “In 2005, we were 14th. The state also has, and maintained, an annual growth rate of 9.4%. Foreign direct investment after 2005 is higher than the total FDI received since 1966,” he listed.