CHANDIGARH: Expressing concern over the grave groundwater situation in the state, an all-party meeting on Thursday unanimously resolved to ask the Centre to ensure that the water from Punjab’s three rivers isn’t transferred from basin to non-basin areas.
The parties also demanded a provision in the proposed Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, whereby a tribunal would be set up to ensure that the state gets adequate water in a just and equitable manner to meet its total demand.
The resolution moved by state minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria stated, “Punjab does not have surplus water and is facing a threat of desertification with declining availability of its river water and fast depleting groundwater. The state’s groundwater, which meets 73 per cent of its irrigation requirements, has declined to alarming levels, threatening the livelihood of farmers and other poor people.”
“In such a situation, it is unanimously resolved that the Central Government should ensure that Punjab river water is not in any way transferred from basin to non-basin areas of three rivers, namely Ravi, Sutlej and Beas, as per the internationally accepted riparian principle. Further, alternatives should be ascertained, including amendments to the proposed Inter-State River Water Disputes Act to set up a new tribunal for a complete de novo assessment of availability of river waters before final decision, to harness, develop and provide adequate water to Punjab in a just and equitable manner in keeping with its total demand and securing livelihood of the future generations,” the resolution further stated.
The all-party meeting, convened by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, was aimed at debating ways to arrest and mitigate the state’s aggravated groundwater crisis.
The CM said he would seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure action on the state’s resolution.