Days after the Supreme Court (SC) directed Punjab to obey orders passed by it on the construction of remaining portion of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said the state will continue to demand fresh assessment of river water available in the state.
Speaking to reporters after casting his vote for the presidential election at the Assembly, the CM said the state government has already urged the Centre for setting up of a water commission to assess the available river water in Punjab.
"There was 71 MAF (million acre-feet) river water in Punjab in 1976. Now it has come down to 13 MAF. So a fresh assessment of water is required," he said while questioning the claim of Haryana over river water from Punjab according to water sharing agreement between the two states.
Capt Amarinder said the state had been engaged in fruitful talks with the Centre to find an early and amicable solution to the issue.The state government, he said, had requested the Union ministry of water resources to assess the existing quantum of river water before the issue is finally adjudicated upon.
The CM denied having discussed the SYL with the Prime Minister, saying no talks had yet been convened on the issue.
Responding to a question on delay in repayment of crop loans by the farmers in the wake of debt waiver announced by his government, the CM said that the government was already in the process of settlement with banks. He pointed out that finance minister Manpreet Badal had said the waiver scheme would be implemented by the government within a week.
Capt Amarinder said the final report on debt waiver by the expert committee headed by Dr T Haq was awaited to enable the government to take a holistic view of the problem and find ways and means to implement farm debt waiver in right earnest.
Ruling out a rollback of the government decision to ban truck unions in the state, the CM said the government had taken the decision to ban the unions conscientiously in order to save the industry, transportation of food grains and, above all, to strengthen Punjab’s economy.
The government did not take any arbitrary decision and there were three judgments of High Court asking the State Government to take tangible steps for breaking the truck unions’ monopoly in the larger good of the society, he added.