Giving “final burial” to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal by handing over ownership papers of the project land to original owners at Kapuri village in Patiala, the place where the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had laid its foundation in 1982, Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia declared on Wednesday, “We have achieved the mission of the ‘Dharam Yudh Morcha’ initiated by the Shiromani Akali Dal in 1982.”
“I was a child when the SAD started the morcha to stop the SYL, on April 8, 1982, when Indira Gandhi used a spade given by (Punjab Congress chief) Captain Amarinder Singh for the earth-breaking ceremony here. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and other Akalis went to jail several times, while some lost their lives also. However, with 34 years of continuous efforts of the SAD, now the SYL issue is closed, said Majithia.
He also referred to a Hindustan Times report about how the original owners (farmers) are not taking formal possession as they do not have money to fill up the canal and till the land; and announced Rs 10,000 per acre by way of “diesel expenses” to the farmers to level the land. “I am also working to provide more relief, which will be announced by the CM,” he added.
He described the de-notification of the land — done by the state cabinet even though the Supreme Court ruled against Punajb’s decision to annul the SYL and other water pacts — as “a slap on the face of the anti-Punjab forces led by the Congress”.
“Indira Gandhi forced Congress chief ministers, including Giani Zail Singh and Darbara Singh, to implement her decision to construct the SYL,” he said.
He also asked Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal to speak on the SYL issue. Flashing an affidavit filed by the AAP on the SYL issue “in favour of Haryana” in the SC, Majithia said, “This affidavit is the reason why Arvind Kejriwal, who cannot resist commenting on everything under the sun, has not opened his mouth on the SYL canal. He is keeping quiet because he knows he has betrayed Punjab and Punjabis.”
On Haryana’s fresh petition in the SC to get the SYL decision implemented, he said, “Whatever may be the outcome of the SC hearing, our stand remains the same: We will never allow construction of the SYL canal.”