Punjab and Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki on Monday said Haryana government is committed to obtain its legitimate share of Ravi-Beas waters and completion of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, an issue on which the state is locked in a tussle with Punjab for over six decades.
The reference to the issue in his address to Haryana assembly came a week after his speech in the Punjab assembly where he had stated that Punjab’s right on waters of its rivers should be “safeguarded”.
A governor by convention reads out the speech prepared by the state government. With Solanki being incharge of both Punjab and Haryana, it has led to a piquant situation.
In his address in Punjab assembly, he had appealed to the Centre to remove “discrimination” on instances like distribution of waters with neighbouring states, Punjabi speaking areas and transfer of Chandigarh to give “justice” to the border state.
As he addressed the Haryana legislature, the Punjab assembly on Monday afternoon in a neighbouring hall within the complex passed a bill introduced by the Parkash Singh Badal led SAD-BJP government to denotify the land which was acquired for the construction of the SYL canal in Punjab to carry Haryana’s share of Ravi Beas water.
The proposed measure has been slammed by Haryana. Solanki, delivering the governor’s address on the opening day of budget session of Haryana assembly in Chandigarh, said, “The concerted efforts made by the government to secure early hearing of the Presidential reference, which has been pending for the last more than 11 years, have borne fruit and the matter has now been taken up for regular hearing by the Supreme Court.”
He said, “The Hansi-Butana Canal, which was constructed to carry Haryana’s own share of Ravi-Beas waters from Bhakra Command to Western Yamuna Canal and Lift Command has not been operationalised due to the stay order granted by the apex court.”
The governor said that the cross examination of witnesses in the matter was completed on February 2, 2016 and the arguments are likely to start shortly.
The water dispute between the northern states continues even 61 years after the first agreement was signed in 1955 which was followed by a number of agreements, including the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, 1966 Punjab Reorganisation Act, the 1981 Indira Gandhi and 1985 Rajiv Longowal Accord.