Ahead of meeting of Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat with Punjab and Haryana chief ministers on the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal issue on Wednesday, Shiromani Akali Dal president S Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday warmed Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann against attending the meeting called by the Center over giving state’s river waters to Haryana.
“I warn you (Mann) not to enter into any negotiations aimed at giving our river waters to any state in violation of the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle,” Badal said.
The SAD chief accused the Punjab CM of not acting as “a custodian of Punjab and Punjabis” critical rights but functioning only as a facilitator of Arvind Kejriwal’s electoral interests in Haryana and other states.
“Any meeting convened to discuss the sharing of Punjab’s river waters is in itself a gross violation of the Riparian Principle and the Punjab chief minister must refuse to take part in it. If he does that, SAD will back him on this issue. His participation in any such meeting would in itself amount to abandoning Punjab’s just and constitutionally valid position on its river waters. Participation would completely destroy Punjab’s case and compromise its total and inalienable right over river waters,” he said in a statement.
Both Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar had met on October 15 but the discussion remained inconclusive with Mann saying his state does not have a single drop of water to share and his counterpart Khattar later stating that it was his final meeting over the issue.
Khattar had stated that he would brief Shekhawat, but not take any more initiative to organise a meeting. He had stated if the Centre wants to mediate and resolve the issue then they can do it.
Shekhawat had now called a meeting after checking availability of both the chief ministers. The meeting between Mann and Khattar was initiated after the Supreme Court nudged both the states to sit together and sort the issue.