At a time when the state government and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were busy with the ‘Pani Bachao, Punjab Bachao’ rally in Moga on chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s birthday on Thursday, a team of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) was inspecting the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal in the region.
The team will present its report to the Centre which, in turn, will submit a status report to the Supreme Court.
The apex court, during its last hearing on the SYL issue, had asked the Punjab chief secretary, state director general of police (DGP) and Union home secretary, to submit a status report by December 15 in the wake of the state government’s November 16 decision to denotifiy the SYL land and return it back to farmers. The court had also ordered all parties to maintain a status quo on the matter.
Dilip Kumar, joint secretary, ministry of home affairs, along with the state irrigation officials, inspected the SYL canal in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar districts. He also sought the revenue record pertaining to the canal.
Though Kumar did not talk to the media, sources said he took photographs of the canal.
Sources said the Punjab chief secretary and the DGP will inform the SC, in separate reports, that the land was de-notified and returned back to farmers. They said the state government would try to make the farmers a party in the case so that it could linger on, as it would be difficult to serve notices to all farmers.