CHANDIGARH: Farmers on Wednesday launched a major operation to fill and level the disputed Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal in Ropar, Fategarh Sahib, Patiala, Mohali and other places in Punjab.
In consonance with the State cabinet’s decision to return all the funds received from Haryana for the canal, the government dispatched a cheque of `191.75 crore to the neighbouring State.
Work has been launched on a war footing despite fact that the bill passed on Monday by the Punjab government to denotify the SYL land acquisition still needs the Governor’s approval. Also, the matter has reached the Supreme Court. Heavy machines and earth-moving equipment are working in tandem. Police personnel were seen escorting JCB machines to many villages.
Niranjan , a farmer from Banur, said, “I have got 22 acres back and once we reclaim it entirely, we will start cultivating the land.’’
On Tuesday some leaders of the ruling SAD started filling the canal in Ropar and Rajpura. Senior Akali leaders, including Patiala Mayor Amarinder Bajaj, are overseeing the operation, with the Patiala district administration turning a blind eye to the illegal process.
State Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh exhorted people to start filling up the canal as “this is the only way to save 9 lakh acres of fertile land of the Malwa region from turning barren”. Leader of the Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi said it was Captain Singh’s government that had adopted the Punjab terminations of Agreements Act in 2004 to counter the directive from the Supreme Court.
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said the canal was the property of his State and that if the Punjab government failed to ensure its safety, it would create lawlessness.