Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday said he would not mind exploring the possibility of a political solution to the inter-state water dispute with Punjab, if the neighbouring state too shows willingness.
Hooda, who was speaking at the leaderspeak programme organised by Hindustan Times at Gurgaon, agreed that an early solution to inter-state disputes would help Haryana grow faster. However, lamenting the non-implementation of an earlier political solution to the Punjab-Haryana water dispute, worked out by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (the Rajiv-Longowal accord), he 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 capital town -- has led to an impasse, according to Hooda. “These issues should not be interlinked. Water is the main issue,” he stressed.
Regarding the legal options being explored by Haryana to get its share of water, the CM said the government was trying to get an early hearing in the matter from the Supreme Court. Hooda 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 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 contends that it is unable to carry its legitimate share of 3.5 million-acre-foot (MAF) of Ravi-Beas water due to the 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 link channel for supplying water to areas of the state that were to be originally fed through the SYL canal.
But the linking of the Hansi-Butana channel to Bhakra mainline has also been stayed by the Supreme Court. In December 2012, Hooda while speaking at the sixth meeting of the National Water Resources Council in Delhi had blamed the central government 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 at the 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.
He also underlined that Haryana had achieved the highest wheat productivity per hectare. “Haryana continues to be the top exporter of Basmati. We also have the highest productivity in mustard,’’ he said.
In the health sector, Hooda said the state government has set up four new medical colleges at Karnal, Mewat, Faridabad and Sonepat. “The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will set up an OPD at Bhadsa in Jhajjar. A National Cancer Institute and a heart care centre will also be set up at the AIIMS-2 in Jhajjar,” he said.