Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday reiterated that the border state had not “a single drop of river water to spare” and threatened that water will not be allowed to flow to Haryana.
Addressing the special session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the CM said the state government will do everything possible to stop water from flowing to Haryana.
Launching a frontal attack on the Congress, Badal said the entire leadership of the party has been accusing him and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of changing stand on Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue.
It was SAD, he said, that opposed the anti-Punjab SYL canal tooth and nail whereas the Congressmen accepted the directives of their high command and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
“Any decision to rob the state of its legitimate rights on river waters will not be acceptable to me. Nor will the SAD-BJP alliance government accept it. Neither there was any need to construct SYL canal nor there is any possibility for its construction. It will not be allowed in any circumstances,” Badal declared amid thumping of the benches.
As the Congress stayed away from the assembly session, Badal’s speech lacked the punch he is known for.
‘CONG SHEDDING CROCODILE TEARS’
Taking a dig at the missing Congress MLAs, who had handed over their resignations to the speaker, the CM said the opposition was shedding “crocodile tears” over the recent verdict of the Supreme Court.
“Why did they run away? We wanted to take their advice on the two resolutions we have moved to protect the Punjab waters. They did it deliberately because they had a guilty conscience for betraying Punjab and its people on territorial issues, including river waters, several times,” Badal alleged.
He said Punjab had been frequently meted out discrimination, excesses and injustice and the SAD had to struggle for securing Punjab’s rights since inception.
Badal said the water issue was not merely restricted to peasantry but every section of the society was adversely affected by it. He said there would be no agriculture without water and without agriculture there would be no trade and industry.
He claimed that grave injustice being meted out to Punjab over the issue of river waters was absolutely intolerable.
CM DIGS IN HISTORY
OF WATER ISSUE
He said the first betrayal by the Congress was witnessed by Punjab at an inter-state ministerial meeting in 1955 which was presided over by the then Union water resources minister Gulzari Lal Nanda and was attended by the irrigation ministers of Rajasthan, PEPSU and J&K. The 15.85 MAF (million acre foot) of Ravi-Beas surplus water was distributed among Punjab (5.9 MAF), PEPSU (1.3 MAF), J&K (0.65 MAF) and Rajasthan (8 MAF). The internationally-accepted riparian principle was blatantly violated then, he added.
Punjab was discriminated against for the second time in terms of Indus Water Treaty of 1960, under which distribution of six rivers between India and Pakistan was done, he said.
In the Reorganization Act of 1966, Badal said, the discrimination continued against Punjab. After creation of Haryana, the Centre, using Section 78, allocated 50% (3.5 MAF) water to Haryana from the share that Punjab (including PEPSU) was given in 1955.
Referring to the SYL canal, he said that the proposal was made in 1976 and the first mention about its construction was made in the 1981 agreement. But surprisingly, much before that Congress chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab had already decided on it, he added.
Badal said `1 crore was received by Punjab from Haryana on November 18, 1976. The then chief minister Giani Zail Singh wrote a letter on November 26, 1976 to his Haryana counterpart Banarsi Dass Gupta, seeking consent to carry out the work for construction of the punjab portion of the SYL out of `1 crore, which was offered by Haryana. Subsequently, on January 1, 1977, the Giani Zail Singh Singh government accorded the most important administrative approval to construct the Punjab portion of the SYL.