Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said water sharing (SYL Canal) was an emotive issue that needed to be resolved on priority with utmost “sensitivity and caution” as river water was the lifeline of state.
Badal alleged that Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh was playing politics over the issue, but was evasive to questions on BJP-led Central government’s stand on the water-sharing issue in the Supreme Court, which was in contrast to that of Punjab’s.
Badal was talking to the media on the sidelines of the first convocation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University here on Saturday.
He alleged that Punjab had faced discrimination on all fronts, such as political, social, economic and religious, at the hands of the successive Congress governments at the Centre. “Our state has been denied its rightful share in river waters through the three water distribution pacts done in the last five decades in brazen defiance to an internationally accepted riparian principle,” he said.
“We the people of Punjab are the custodians of the rivers passing through the state and won’t share a single drop as there is none to spare,” Badal said.
Urging the Congress to stop politicking over the issue, the CM said the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act-2004 passed by the then Amarinder Singh government was nothing but an unintentional admission of guilt by the Congress for betraying the people of Punjab on river waters.
Policy to regularise contract workers
In his convocation address, the chief minister said the state government would soon come out with a policy to regularise the services of ad hoc/contract employees. Badal said he had already asked the chief secretary, his principal secretary and advocate general to find ways and means to regularise the services of these employees.
Earlier, vice-chancellor Gurmohan Singh Walia read out the annual report of the varsity. SGPC president and chancellor of university Avtar Singh Makkar and University Grants Commission secretary Jaspal Singh Sandhu also spoke on the occasion.
Honoris causa degree for ex-army chief
He also expressed concern over the exploitation of qualified youth by the private sector.
Ex-army chief Gen Bikram Singh (retd) and former IFS officer Bhagwant Singh Dalawari were conferred with degrees of Doctor of Science (DSc) and Doctor of Literature (DLit), both (honoris causa), respectively, for outstanding services rendered by them in their fields.