NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that its verdict allowing construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna link (SYL) canal has to be executed and asked Haryana and Punjab to maintain law and order "at any cost" in view of a proposed protest by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Haryana's main opposition party, on Thursday over the inter-state water row.
The political outfit has asked its workers to gather at Ambala and march inside Punjab to start digging the SYL canal on Thursday.
"Haryana and Punjab shall maintain law and order at any cost. State of Punjab and Haryana will take action under the law...the law and order should not be violated in any manner," a bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said.
The court said its earlier interim order of status quo will continue till further orders and fixed the case for further hearing on March 2, while again rejecting Punjab's submission that the case be listed after the poll results.
Punjab, in its affidavit, has maintained that the Punjab Termination of Water Agreement Act of 2004 was still in force and discharges it of all responsibility to provide water to other states. It claimed that the SC verdict that the 2004 Act was unconstitutional did not render the law invalid as the apex court had only given an opinion on the Presidential reference.
The apex court has categorically said the canal has to be constructed by a central agency and the November 10, 2016 constitution bench verdict has said that the Punjab Act, terminating the water agreement, was unconstitutional.
Punjab submitted that said the dispute at hand cannot be decided by the court as the 1981 water-sharing agreement for effective allocation of water was not enforceable as the quantity of water has dipped.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has taken extensive security measures to prevent INLD cadres from carrying out protests at Kapoori in Punjab, with over 5000 State Police personnel and ten companies of the paramilitary forces deployed in the Punjab territory. Also, section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the region that prevents unlawful assembly.
The neighbouring Haryana is leaving no stones unturned, with over 2,000 State police personnel deployed and police control room set up near Mughal Sarai in Rajpura. Five duty magistrates have also been stationed in the area.