Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has convened a meeting of all political parties in Haryana on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on November 17. The move to hold the meeting at Haryana Niwas in Chandigarh was announced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Tuesday. The decision came barely two hours before the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government in Punjab decided to return the 5,376 acres of land acquired for the canal more than three decades ago to its original owners.
The Badal government, which has refused to share water with Haryana and other neighbouring states, will hold an emergency session of the state assembly on Wednesday on the contentious canal. It had announced the session immediately after the Supreme Court gave its view on SYL on November 10, declaring the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, as “invalid”.
The Haryana government, which had welcomed the apex court’s verdict, is under pressure from the opposition parties in the state to take quick steps for completion of the canal so that Haryana can get its share of river water. While the state Congress has already announced district-level protests and gherao of the state assembly on day one of the next session to mount pressure on the government, the INLD has also given an ultimatum to the Centre, asking it to start the construction work by February 23, 2017, or else its workers would dig the canal in the Punjab area.