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Punjab, Haryana CM fail to reach consensus on SYL canal issue

Mann clearly said that Punjab has no surplus water to share with Haryana. He sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to provide additional water to Haryana either from the Ganga or the Yamuna river basins to overcome its shortage.

IANS | Chandigarh |

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday failed to reach a consensus over the contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue. A crucial meeting over the issue was held between the two CMs in Chandigarh.

Mann clearly said that Punjab has no surplus water to share with Haryana. He sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to provide additional water to Haryana either from the Ganga or the Yamuna river basins to overcome its shortage.

Haryana Chief Minister Khattar categorically ruled out that any initiative to hold next round of talks between the Chief Ministers will be taken. Khattar said no consensus was reached at the meeting and they would now meet Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to apprise him of the meeting.

The meeting was held after the Supreme Court recently asked them to meet and find an amicable solution.

Before the meeting, Khattar said residents of Haryana have the right over SYL water and he is affirmative that they will definitely get their right.

“SYL water is very important for Haryana. Now it is necessary to fix a timeline in this matter, so that the availability of water to the farmers of Haryana can be ensured.”

It is well known that despite two Supreme Court judgments, Punjab has not completed the construction of SYL.

Instead of implementing the decisions of the apex court, Punjab tried to obstruct their implementation by enacting the Cancellation of Agreements Act in 2004.

Under the provision of Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966, according to the order of the government of India dated March 24, 1976, 3.5 MAF of water was allocated to Haryana out of the surplus water of the Ravi-Beas.

Due to non-completion of the SYL canal, Haryana is using only 1.62 MAF of water.

Punjab is illegally using about 1.9 MAF of water from Haryana’s share by not completing the SYL canal in its region, an official statement quoting Khattar said on Thursday.

Due to this attitude of Punjab, Haryana is not able to take its 1.88 MAF share of water. Punjab and Rajasthan are using about 2,600 cusecs of water from Haryana every year. “If this water had reached Haryana, it would have been used to irrigate 10.08 lakh acres of land, quench the state’s thirst, and help thousands of farmers,” Khattar said.

Due to non-availability of this water, the groundwater level in South-Haryana is also going down considerably. Due to non-construction of SYL, farmers of Haryana irrigate by using expensive diesel and running tubewells with electricity, which incurs an additional burden of Rs 100 crore to Rs 150 crore every year, he said.

Due to non-formation of SYL in Punjab region, the irrigation potential created to irrigate 10 lakh acres in Haryana is lying idle.

Additionally, the state also bears the loss of 42 lakh tonnes of foodgrains every year. Haryana would have generated an additional 130 lakh tonnes of foodgrains and other crops, had the SYL been established in 1983 in accordance with the 1981 agreement.

The total value of this agricultural produce at the rate of 15,000 per tonne is Rs 19,500 crore.