CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the state would “burn” if Punjab is forced to share water with Haryana when the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal is completed and the dispute between the two states would turn into a national problem.
“You have to look at the issue from the national security perspective. If you decide to go ahead with the SYL, Punjab will burn and it will become a national problem with Haryana and Rajasthan also suffering,” he said after a tripartite meeting with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Shekhawat on Tuesday.
The meeting was held on the direction of the Supreme Court, which had asked the Centre on July 28 to mediate between the two states on the long-pending water dispute. The meeting did not yield any breakthrough. “We held a meeting on SYL canal in view of the Supreme Court order. Both the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab expressed their views and we will soon hold a second round of talks,” Shekhawat said after the meeting.
Singh urged the Union government to be cautious on the SYL issue and reiterated the need for a tribunal to make a time-bound assessment of the water availability. He also sought complete share of water for Punjab from the total resources available, including from the Yamuna.
He said Punjab had a right over Yamuna water as it did not get its due share when Haryana was carved out of the state. Describing the talks as cordial, he said he was his willing to sit across the table with his Haryana counterpart to discuss the “emotive” issue.
The Punjab chief minister also suggested that Rajasthan be involved in the discussions on the SYL canal and Ravi-Beas waters as the desert state was also a stakeholder. Haryana, which gets 1.62 million acre feet water from the Ravi and Beas rivers, stuck to its stand of getting 3.5 MAF from both the rivers and stressed that this was absolutely non-negotiable.
Hoping for an amicable solution, Khattar said: “We maintained our stand that SYL should be constructed. The Supreme Court too had said that. We will again meet soon and discuss this issue.” The SYL canal has been a contentious issue between the two neighbouring states. It is meant to allow Haryana to draw its share of water from Ravi and Beas.