Haryana Has No Right To River Water From Himachal Pradesh: Sukhbir Singh Badal
Chandigarh, June 2 (TNA) Plans of Haryana to get river water direct from Himachal Pradesh is likely to provide political ammunition to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as its president and former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said Haryana did not have any right to River waters from Himachal Pradesh being a non-riparian State even as he asserted that Himachal should not part with River waters to a non-riparian State without the consent of the downstream State.
Terming news reports of negotiations having started between Himachal and Haryana to construct a canal to take River waters directly from Himachal to Haryana and a likely meeting to finalize this arrangement on June 5, the SAD president said “another conspiracy has been initiated to rob Punjab of its River waters. We will not let it succeed at any cost”.
It is pertinent to mention here that on May 31, Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar said that an important meeting would be held with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister on June 5; comprising of various issues including construction of Kishau dam, construction of new parallel linked channel from Dadupur to Hamida Head, Saraswati River Rejuvenation and Heritage Development Project, SYL canal water via Himachal Pradesh and imposition of cess on electricity.
In a high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister with administrative secretaries to review projects worth more than Rs 100 crore, Haryana CM said that work is being done on various schemes for drinking water and irrigation. “It is the priority of the state government to provide clean drinking water in sufficient quantities to the citizens across the state uninterruptedly. Also, water will be available for irrigation to the farmers after these projects are completed,” he added.
Commenting over the news reports and the entire issue, Badal said “Himachal and Punjab are joint owners of the River waters being upstream and downstream States. The upstream State cannot transfer water out of the watershed without due consideration of the rights of the downstream State.”
Considering these facts, the SAD president requested Himachal chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Sukhu not to enter into any negotiation on transfer of River waters from Himachal to Haryana. He said Himachal could not part with any water to a non-riparian State without Punjab’s consent. “Re-opening this issue after the closure of the SYL canal in Punjab by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal who returned the land acquired for the canal from farmers back to them will amount to reopening old wounds. These could lead to intense inter-State and inter-people strife which would be detrimental to peace in the region”.
Sukhbir Badal also warned chief minister Bhagwant Mann not to be caught napping on this most sensitive issue which concerned the lives and livelihoods of the farmers of Punjab. “Earlier also the AAP government has been found wanting in standing up against repeated anti-Punjab decisions which have harmed the interests of the State. The chief minister must take pro-active steps to ensure this conspiracy does not take off.
He also asked the Punjab Congress to clarify its stand on the issue. “The Congress is fond of taking different stands on the same issue in different States. The Punjab Congress must prevail upon its high command to direct the Himachal chief minister not to arrive at any agreement with his Haryana counterpart to divert River waters to the latter State in the same manner in which it opposed Congress high command moves to support Aam Aadmi Party on the issue of central ordinance to restrict the powers of the Delhi government”, the SAD president added.