Haryana, Punjab review situation over INLD blockade threat

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Chandigarh, July 7 (IANS) Senior officers of Haryana and Punjab met here on Friday to review preparations following the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) threat to prevent entry of Punjab government vehicles into the neighbouring state on July 10 over the SYL Canal issue.

The meeting was attended by the Home Secretaries and Directors General of Police of Haryana and Punjab.

Haryana’s main opposition party INLD had earlier announced its activists will stop vehicles from Punjab at the Shambhu barrier near Ambala to press the state’s demand for construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, as has been directed by the Supreme Court.

Private vehicles would not be stopped during the day-long protest, the opposition party said.

Haryana Home Secretary Ram Niwas said all precautionary measures were being taken to ensure smooth passage of traffic through Haryana on Monday.

Officials indicated that some road diversions could be made if the INLD activists reached National Highway-1 and tried to block it near Ambala, 45 km from here.

People travelling from Punjab have to cross Haryana to go to Delhi and beyond. The busy National Highway-1 or Grand Trunk Road links Delhi with Amritsar and passes through Haryana.

INLD General Secretary Abhay Singh Chautala said his party will go ahead with its call to block traffic.

“We will not allow any (Punjab) government buses or other vehicles, nor any minister or MLA to enter Haryana. Even if Punjab Chief Minister (Amarinder Singh) tries to come, he will be stopped at the Haryana border,” Chautala said earlier.

“We will stop private vehicles also but let them go after handing over pamphlets, justifying Haryana’s stand on the SYL issue and water-sharing, and flowers. We will urge them to impress upon the Punjab government to allow the canal construction,” Chautala said.

The INLD had taken hundreds of activists towards the Punjab border at Shambhu, 10 km from Ambala, on the NH-1 on February 23, saying it will start digging the SYL canal in Punjab.

Following a Presidential Reference, the Supreme Court on November 10 last year held the passage of the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Bill, 2004, by the Punjab assembly as “unconstitutional”.

It directed that the SYL canal be constructed but the Punjab government has flatly refused, saying the state has no more water to share with Haryana.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power in Haryana, Punjab has a Congress government.

–IANS

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