Congress leader Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday said the state government should have pressed for adjudication of a suit regarding the ownership of water rights of Punjab pending in the Supreme Court first, before taking any step on the Sutlej Yamuna link (SYL) canal issue.
Addressing party’s Hola Mohalla political conference here, Manpreet said: “Punjab’s case is very strong, the only issue is to follow it up. If there is no water to spare, how can we give it to others.”
“From the way the state government has handled this matter, it may seem that Punjab is bullying other states. However, it is not the case. Punjab is being misunderstood, we should change our strategy,” said Manpreet.
According to him, a suit filed by Punjab regarding the ownership of waters was pending in the apex court and the SAD-BJP government should have pressed the court to adjudicate this suit before taking other steps on the matter.
“The SYL canal would come up only if there is excess water with Punjab. So, it is wise to first decide how much water Punjab has and how much it can pass on to other states,” he added.
Former Congress MLA from Anandpur Sahib Rana KP Singh organised the party’s conference. Senior leaders, including Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress legislature Party (CLP) leader Charanjit Singh Channi were not present at the event.
Manpreet said that a great injustice had been done with Punjab regarding the sharing of waters and state has been fighting for justice for past several years. “Haryana, a smaller state than Punjab, has more water than us for surface irrigation as it gets water from Yamuna and three rivers of Punjab as well,” said Manpreet.
According to Manpreet the water should be shared as per riparian principle or on the basis of 60:40 ratio between Punjab and Haryana as had been done in other cases after reorganisation of the state.
Later, talking to mediapersons, he said: “The Congress has a maturity to run the government in Punjab and has depth in the leadership, which had an ability to take risks to take the state out of the woods.”
“People of state must differentiate between good and bad politicians. When they can do that the state would become prosperous,” he added.