Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, on Friday, suggested a fresh analysis of Sutlej, Ravi and Beas waters and requested the neighbouring states to cooperate.
The chief minister was speaking during the 28th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council held here, which was attended by representatives of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory, Chandigarh and New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
“There is a consensus building up among the states for a reanalysis (of waters in the Sutlej). Haryana CM has accepted the proposal for reassessment under the supervision of the Centre,” chief secretary (CS) of Punjab Karan A Singh told mediapersons after the meeting. The secretary in the interstate secretariat (of the home department) at the Centre Sanjeevani Kutty also attended the meeting.
Punjab and Haryana are on a warpath on waters, as Haryana is seeking the construction of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to take water from Punjab, while the latter is objecting to the canal on the plea that the quantity of water has reduced drastically over the past three decades since the SYL canal proposal was put forth. A case is pending in the Supreme Court.
“Punjab CM requested Haryana for an out-of-court settlement on the dispute,” said Punjab chief secretary.
However, the CM did not make a direct reference to the SYL, said the CS. “The officials of the union water resources ministry met officers from the states (separately) on the SYL issue on April 20,” he said, answering a query, adding that the Centre had to convey to both the states whether the meeting was open-ended or discussions had closed.
- Fiscal and industrial concessions for Punjab, being a border state, on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand
- Cross-border smuggling of narcotics. Asks Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to stop illegal cultivation of poppy and cannabis
- Dilution by the Chandigarh administration of the 60:40 ratio of government posts in the departments of the Union Territory between Punjab and Haryana, decided at the time of re-organisation of Punjab in 1966
- Restarting construction of Shahpur Kandi dam project; asks Jammu and Kashmir government to ratify the agreement signed with Punjab on March 3 Discharge of effluents into the Sutlej from the Himachal Pradesh side
He also informed the media that Amarinder Singh also told the meeting that most watersharing agreements (with neighbouring states), signed in 1980s, were annulled by the Punjab government in 2004. Things now have changed drastically, so there was need to reanalyse the quantity of water.
Besides Union home minister Rajnath Singh, the others, who attended the meeting, included Punjab governor and UT administrator VP Singh Badnore, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Delhi lt governor Anil Baijal, J&K deputy chief minister Nirmal Kumar Singh, Himachal Pradesh health minister Thakur Kaul Singh and Rajasthan water resources minister Ram Pratap.
‘SHOW COMPASSION FOR J&K YOUTH’
Home minister Rajnath Singh also asked all northern states to deal with the youth from Jammu and Kashmir, who have come to these states to work or study with compassion and soft hand. “We need to extend warmth to them, the home minister said,” informed Sanjeevani Kutty.