CHANDIGARH: Radical Sikh organisations Dal Khalsa and Panch Pardani on Saturday released a poster on the contentious Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) issue, naming the people they hold responsible for “the loot of Punjab’s only natural resource” and those who “have been working to protect” the resource.
Among those featured on the poster are Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder and Sukhdev Singh Babbar, head of the banned militant group Babbar Khalsa. The poster, which accused both the ruling SAD and the Opposition Congress of working only to further their interests, claimed that it was militants led by Babbar who took the “first practical step” to stop the construction of the disputed canal, in 1990. This was followed by the passage of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act during Amarinder’s tenure in 2004, which led to the denotification by the Badal-led SAD-BJP government of the land acquired for the canal.
H S Dhami, Kanwar Pal Singh and Harpal Singh Cheema, leaders of the Sikh groups said, “The militants wanted to genuinely protect the natural resources and economy of Punjab and save agricultural activity, which is the lifeline of the people of the State. They were right in their own way in upholding the sovereign rights of the people to their resources.
On the other hand, both the Congress and the SAD acted to protect their political and electoral interests.”
They said the intervention of the higher judiciary was “not in good taste”, adding that all the water dispute cases of Punjab should be handed over to the World Bank, Clause 5 of Punjab’s Termination of Agreements Act abrogated and royalties levied from non-riparian States (Rajasthan and Haryana) for using the State’s water. They also urged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to “show magnanimity” and pay a royalty to Punjab as Delhi was getting 0.2 Million Acre Feet (MAF) water.