Former Chief Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday advised Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to stand firm on his ground on the issue of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal when he meets his Haryana counterpart tomorrow to deliberate on a solution.
“Please do ensure that there is no ambiguity in your stance and stand today which may prove costly for the state in future,” he cautioned Mann, adding, “You have to be clear and categorical that Punjab has not a drop of water to spare for anyone.”
In his advice to Chief Minister Mann, Amarinder hoped that he (Mann) was aware of the ground situation in Punjab, which is already facing a water crisis. “We do not have any spare water for any other state including Haryana. So there is no question of providing any water to anyone,” he pointed out.
Captain Amarinder as the Chief Minister of Punjab had enacted the historical Water Sharing Agreements Repealing Act in 2004 to save Punjab waters from going to other states as otherwise Punjab would have turned completely barren.
The former CM advised Mann to raise the issue of Yamuna water effectively and aggressively. “While Haryana has no Riparian rights over the Punjab rivers from which it is claiming the water, it has got absolute right over the Yamuna water coming through Tajewala barrage,” he said, adding that this was gross injustice to Punjab that Yamuna water was not factored in during the division of resources on 60:40 ratio between Punjab and Haryana.
He said Mann should ideally have taken everyone into confidence ahead of his meeting with the Haryana CM. “You will be representing the whole of Punjab and everyone in the state will be looking forward to how you watch and safeguard the state’s interest,” he told the CM while wishing him all the best for tomorrow’s meeting.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to tell Punjabis what stand he would take on the SYL canal in his meeting with his Haryana counterpart tomorrow, saying this was of utmost importance as there were clear cut indications that he would betray Punjab’s interests at the instance of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Former Minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said that Mann was under pressure from Arvind Kejriwal to arrive at a compromise with the Haryana government to help AAP gain politically in Haryana.
Asserting that Punjabis would not tolerate any such compromise, Dr Cheema asked the CM to clearly state that Punjab did not have a single drop of water to spare nor any land to construct the SYL canal before attending the meeting on this issue with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.