PUNJAB CHIEF Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed the Prime Minister’s reported decision to hold a meeting of Punjab and Haryana on April 20 to resolve the contentious SYL issue.
The Chief Minister’s statement came in response to a submission made in the Supreme Court by the Union of India, which represented before the court on Monday that the Prime Minister has called for a meeting between the two States-Punjab & Haryana, on April 20 in order to resolve the matter, which would require a deferment of hearing. The SYL matter is listed before the Supreme Court on April 12, 2017.
The State of Punjab also submitted before the court that a new government had assumed office in the state. It stated before the court that the new government would issue renewed instructions in the matter and hence an adjournment would be necessitated.
The Court took note of the request made and asked counsel to renew the request at 2 pm on April 12.
The State of Punjab was represented by Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani, Advocate General Atul Nanda, Advocate General and Senior Advocate RS Suri, while the Union of India was led by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
Later, in his statement, the Chief Minister said he had been seeking the Centre’s intervention in the matter to find an amicable settlement to the issue in the interest of Punjab, which would be deprived of its much-needed water if the SYL construction is allowed to go ahead.
Captain Amarinder, who had in November quit his Lok Sabha membership after a Supreme Court verdict giving a go-ahead to the SYL construction, said his government was committed to protecting the water of Punjab at all cost.
The Congress manifesto also clearly states that the "the Congress government will not allow construction of any new canal including SYL, which takes its river waters outside its territorial jurisdiction.”
Captain Amarinder has repeatedly asserted that the question of allowing Punjab’s river water to go outside the state did not arise since Punjab did not have surplus water to share with other states. He has been underlining the need for a fresh assessment of the quantum of river water actually available with Punjab before taking a final decision in the SYL matter.
Allowing the SYL to be constructed before ascertaining the water availability amounted to putting the cart before the horse, according to Captain Amarinder, who has, on several occasions, stated that Punjab has been subjected to injustice in the matter of water allocation.