Punjab and Haryana on Thursday reiterated their “stated positions” in separate meetings held by the Centre in New Delhi on the contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.
While Punjab demanded that a tribunal be set up for re-assessment of water in the Ravi-Beas basin, as the state had no water to spare, Haryana urged the Centre to construct the remaining portion of the SYL in Punjab territory at the earliest to carry its share of river waters.
Both Punjab and Haryana were represented by their chief secretaries in the much-publicised meeting with Union water resources secretary Amarjeet Singh. However, there was no face-to-face meeting between official deputations of the two states, as they were heard separately.
“The meeting was held in a conducive environment but remained inconclusive,” a Punjab bureaucrat told HT. The centre had convened the meeting to try and resolve the matter following the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office. Both states have been fighting over the Ravi-Beas waters for the past many years.
- Punjab stand: A tribunal must be set up for re-assessment of water in the Ravi-Beas basin, as the state had no water to spare
- Haryana take: The Centre must to construct the remaining portion of the SYL Canal in Punjab territory at the earliest to carry its share of river waters.
Punjab chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh, principal secretary, irrigation, KBS Sidhu and secretary Hussan Lal presented the case of their state, which is opposed to construction of SYL, by categorically telling the Centre that the state had no water to spare.
“It has been 30 years since the assessment of Ravi-Beas waters was done by the Eradi Tribunal. The amount of water coming in the basin has fallen drastically. There is need for its reassessment. How can we talk of SYL canal when there is no water?” Sidhu told the ministry officials, demanding a fresh tribunal.
The state team also said that in case the SYL canal was constructed, 10 lakh hectares of agriculture land in Punjab would turn into a desert. Haryana, on the other hand, pressed for its “rightful” share in Ravi-Beas waters and construction of the remaining portion of the canal. Chief Secretary DS Dhesi raised the issues which were part of the November 28, 2016 memorandum that the all-party delegation led by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had handed over to President Pranab Mukherjee.
The chief secretary said the Supreme Court had already given “clear cut” verdict on the Presidential reference on the SYL canal issue and that the state’s demand was that its balance portion should be constructed in the earliest.
“The state government has filed an execution application for implementation of the two judgments in the SYL case and that next hearing is slated for April 27 in the apex court,” he told the ministry officials.