Ridiculing the irrational and illogical resolutions passed by the Akali government in the special session of the state Assembly, Capt. Amarinder Singh on Wednesday flayed the Badal government’s refusal to acknowledge that the state had no surplus water to `either buy or sell.’
Punjab simply cannot give water to its non-riparian neighbours `at any cost,’ said Amarinder, pointing out that the state was itself facing such acute water scarcity that the question of sharing water did not arise. "But for some inexplicable reason, the Akali government’s resolution is completely silent on this key issue,” he said, dismissing as shameless the crude attempts of the Akali government to brush this critical aspect of the SYL matter under the carpet.
Captain lashed out at the Badal government for making no mention of Punjab’s acute water scarcity, and its consequent inability to share SYL water, in its resolution, which was blatantly in violation of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1955.
Capt. Amarinder pointed out that all pre-independence precedents, as cited in the resolution, had been overruled by the Act of 1955, which categorically laid down that all water sharing would be free of cost. "Since that was a central legislation, you would need to take the Centre’s permission before trying to negate it,” said Amarinder, asking Badal if he had taken the central government’s consent before resorting to such a measure.
The Badal government also seemed deliberately to have kept its resolution on recovery costs ambiguous, making no mention of future water sharing, but the intent was clear, said Captain Amarinder, adding that by seeking royalty for water shared with other states w.e.f 1966, the Akalis had laid the foundation for making similar demand for water sharing in the future.
"In any case, how is recovery of past water costs going to resolve the problem triggered by the Supreme Court verdict in the SYL case,” he asked CM Parkash Singh Badal, accusing him of trying to mislead the people of Punjab and to cheat them of their rightful due.
Capt. urged the central government’s intervention in the matter and asked it to present the real facts of the case before the Supreme Court to enable it to reach a logical conclusion, based on the ground realities. And the reality, he said, was that Punjab simply did not have surplus water to share with Rajasthan, Haryana or Delhi.
Calling upon the central government to appraise the apex court of the real facts of the matter, Captain Amarinder pointed out that the fact was that the centre itself had declared 3/4th of Punjab as `dark zone’ on account of the acute water scarcity in the region. So where does the question of sharing water, with or without cost, arise, he asked.
Referring to another Akali resolution passed in the special session, the PPCC chief dismissed it as farcical, given the fact that the government had on Tuesday denotified the SYL land acquisition. "What do they mean then by saying that the state government should not give the SYL land to the centre or any central agency, when there is no SYL land left now, in the wake of the Denotification Bill,” he demanded to know.