Punjab and Haryana stick to their stand on SYL issue

SYL issue

Representational image (Photo: Getty Images)

Sticking to their respective stands on the issue of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, Punjab and Haryana on Thursday separately sought Centre's intervention in their favour.

During the meeting with secretary, Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Amarjit Singh, while Haryana sought the completion of the remaining portion of the SYL canal for the supply of river water, Punjab expressed its inability to share water with its neighbouring states in view of the critical water situation in the state.

Haryana chief secretary DS Dhesi said they sought completion of the remaining portion of the SYL canal in Punjab side so that the state could get its share of water as per the Supreme Court.

He said Haryana's stand remains the same as it was conveyed to the President through an all party memorandum on 28 November 2016. "The pending portion of the SYL should be completed at the earliest," the chief secretary said adding the even the Presidential Reference in the Supreme Court (SC) has resulted in Haryana's favor.

The Punjab chief secretary, Karan Avtar Singh, on the other hand urged the Narendra Modi government to intervene in the SYL matter to save Punjab from an ecological disaster.

Pointing out that Punjab did not have surplus water and needed every drop of water flowing through its land, the delegation urged the central government to come up with a realistic solution to the problem, keeping the state’s water scarcity in view.

With only 28 per cent of its land canal-irrigated and the rest dependent on tubewells, Punjab was in urgent need of expansion of its canal system to prevent the water crisis in the state from aggravating to devastating levels, the delegation told the secretary.

Pointing to the alarming decline in ground water table in the state, the Punjab delegation noted that the state was losing 12 million acre feet (MAF) of ground water every year.

In fact, 100 of a total of 138 blocks had been rendered `dark blocks’ as a result of over-exploitation of underground water to sustain agriculture. Of these, 45 had further been declared `critical’ by the Central government, they added.

The delegation further noted that the sub-soil of the southern Punjab region was brackish and the people were dependent on canal water even for their drinking needs. Construction of SYL would lead to an estimated 10 lakh acres of land in the region going dry, they further told the central government.