The Punjab Congress on Wednesday jumped into the troubled waters of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) in a race with the Shiromani Akali Dal to fill the canal and take credit for burying the issue with Haryana.
Patiala legislator Preneet Kaur along with two-dozen Congress MLAs arrived with shovels to fill the channel at Kapoori, where a Congress prime minister (Indira Gandhi) had picked up a hoe to break the ground in a contrasting symbolic gesture in 1982. The party sent in farmers to reclaim the SYL land, though Punjab governor Kaptan Singh Solanki is yet to sign the bill to de-notify it.
State Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Charanjit Singh Channi and fellow MLAs even skipped the Vidhan Sabha proceedings to come over to Kapoori. “It’s a historic day; we have snapped the link with Haryana,” he said, adding: “Anticipating that the governor might not sign the bill, the CLP decided to start filling the canal without waiting for formal notification. When (the CM) Capt Amarinder Singh annulled the water-sharing treaty, it took him just a few hours to secure the signatures of the-then governor, but now for drama’s sake, CM Parkash Singh Badal goes to Raj Bhavan without the bill.”
The Akalis led by Charanjit Singh Rakhra and Malwa zone Youth Akali Dal (YAD) president Harpal Juenja deployed nearly 200 earth movers on Wednesday to fill the canal at Sirhind, Rajpura, and a few other places. “We are here to help farmers get back their land. By filling the SYL, we are going to bury the historical blunders of the Congress,” said Juneja.
BADAL GOVT RETURNS ` 192 CR TO HARYANA
in line with the cabinet decision to return all the funds Punjab had received from Haryana for the SYL canal, Punjab government on Wednesday dispatched ` 191.75 crore cheque to the Haryana government.
DON’T CLEAR BILL: KHATTAR TO GOVERNOR
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar requested governor Kaptan Singh Solanki to withhold his assent to the Punjab SYL canal land bill passed by the Punjab assembly on March 14. Khattar also asked him to direct the Punjab government to immediately restore the status quo ante.