Police on toes ahead of INLD plan to stop Punjab-Haryana traffic over SYL row
Senior officers of Haryana and Punjab reviewed preparations following the threat by INLD to prevent entry of Punjab government vehicles into the neighbouring state on July 10.Updated: Jul 08, 2017 16:23 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh/Patiala
Senior officers of Haryana and Punjab met in Chandigarh on Friday to review preparations following the threat by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to prevent entry of Punjab government vehicles into the neighbouring state on July 10 over the decades-old Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row. The meeting was attended by the home secretaries and directors general of police of both states.
Haryana’s main opposition party INLD had earlier announced its activists will stop vehicles from Punjab at the Shambhu barrier near Ambala to press the state’s demand for construction of the canal, as has been directed by the Supreme Court. Private vehicles would not be stopped during the day-long protest, the opposition party said. People travelling from Punjab have to cross Haryana to go to Delhi and beyond.
Officials indicated that some road diversions could be made if the INLD activists reached National Highway-1 and tried to block it near Ambala, 45km from the shared capital Chandigarh. Haryana home secretary Ram Niwas said all precautionary measures were being taken to ensure smooth passage of traffic through Haryana on Monday.
Punjab plans to invoke section 144 of the CrPC for prohibitory orders in the state border districts. Meanwhile, Punjab DGP Suresh Arora held a meeting with officials in Chandigarh on the matter.
As per the INLD announcement, its general secretary Abhay Singh Chautala will lead party workers on the Ambala-Rajpura road up to Shambhu barrier on the border, while state unit chief Ashok Arora will block traffic on the Chandigarh-Ambala Road. Its workers will converge near Jakhal, Dabwali and other border towns.
The INLD had taken hundreds of activists towards Shambhu, 10 km from Ambala, on the NH-1 in February, saying it will start digging the canal in Punjab. Along with several supporters, Abhay was arrested upon entering the state.
He has said after that, too, “We will not allow any (Punjab) government buses or other vehicles, nor any minister or MLA to enter Haryana. Even if Punjab chief minister (Capt Amarinder Singh) tries to come, he will be stopped at the border.”
“We will stop private vehicles also but let them go after handing over pamphlets, justifying Haryana’s stand on the SYL issue and water-sharing, and flowers. We will urge them to impress upon the Punjab government to allow the canal construction,” he added.
Following a Presidential Reference, the Supreme Court on November 10 last year held the passage of the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Bill, 2004, by the Punjab assembly as “unconstitutional”. It directed that the SYL canal be constructed but the Punjab government has flatly refused, saying the state has no more water to share with Haryana. While the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power in Haryana, Punjab has a Congress government.
Meanwhile, in Patiala, AS Rai, inspector general of police (IGP), DIG Sukhchain Singh Gill and senior superintendent of police (SSP) S Bhupathi held a meeting to reviewsecurity arrangements. As the main focus of the INLD is on the Shambhu barrier on GT Road, it was decided to call in extra personnel to Patiala. SP-level officers will be deputed on all entry-exit points on the Haryana border.
DIG Gill told reporters, “There are five districts of Haryana — Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, and Fatehabad — that border Punjab. Traffic flows from main roads as well as link roads. The SSPs of Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda and Barnala are in constant touch with their Haryana counterparts to ensure smooth flow of traffic. At present, there is no direction to restrict traffic, but we have made arrangements for diversions.”
(With IANS inputs)
First Published: Jul 08, 2017 15:55 IST