Punjab CM Badal rejects possibility of negotiations on river waters
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday categorically rejected any possibility of negotiations on the river waters issue with the central and Haryana governments.punjab Updated: Apr 03, 2015 17:16 IST
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday categorically rejected any possibility of negotiations on the river waters issue with the central and Haryana governments.
In an exclusive talk with Hindustan Times here, Badal said, “Talks are possible only if Punjab is willing to share the waters. And we are not going to share even a single drop at any cost.”
Badal said it’s not only the issue of river waters but of peasantry, Punjab’s prosperity and peace. “For me, Punjab’s interest is uppermost and the state does not have even a single drop of surplus water,” he added.
He was reacting to Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s claim that Union water resources minister Uma Bharti had said that the Centre had prepared a roadmap for addressing the waters issue between the neighbouring states and that soon it would convene a meeting of Punjab and Haryana.
Badal said he was not aware how Bharti had claimed to prepare a roadmap for water solution. “I have high regards for Bharti and Khattar, but don’t know how they are making such baseless statements,” said the chief minister, one of the Akalis who had launched an agitation on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue.
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“I don’t know how the issue has cropped up suddenly. I have also read it in the papers. I am not aware of it; neither have any talks taken place with the Centre,” Badal said.
“Let me frankly tell you that Punjab does not have a single drop extra to share with anyone. We are facing scarcity of water. So there is no scope of any talks on the sensitive issue,” he asserted.
The SYL issue is pending in the Supreme Court as Haryana has challenged the Water Termination Act, 2004, passed by the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government to annul all water-sharing agreements.
The chief minister said the Punjab stand is clear. “Punjab has always supported universally accepted riparian rights, according to which the state where the river flows has the first right. This is what we have pleaded in the Supreme Court. This is our permanent stand on the issue.”
The chief minister on Wednesday had rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan of interlinking rivers saying it was not feasible in Punjab as it had no surplus water.
First Published: Apr 02, 2015 21:19 IST