Punjab cabinet nod to return of SYL money to Haryana

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Chandigarh, March 15 (IANS) In a move likely to further precipitate relations between Punjab and Haryana over the water-sharing issue, the Punjab cabinet on Tuesday approved the return of money received from the neighbouring state for the SYL canal’s construction.

“Since water is the lifeline of Punjab, the question of sharing it with anyone does not arise at all. Any decision against injustice to river waters of Punjab would never be accepted at any cost,” the cabinet said.

The cabinet also reiterated the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance government’s “firm commitment not to allow even a single drop of its rightful river waters to Haryana”, a spokesperson of the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office said.

He said the Punjab cabinet decided to return the money immediately. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal chaired the cabinet meeting.

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Badal earlier in the day led a delegation of Punjab political leaders to Acting Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki to seek the governor’s early assent for the ‘Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016’.

Solanki, however, remained non-committal on the issue.

Badal had, in the Punjab assembly, introduced on Monday the bill to de-notify the land acquired for construction of the SYL canal and return 3,928 acres free of cost to the original landowners. The land was acquired nearly four decades ago.

The Supreme Court recently accepted a Haryana government petition for early hearing on the issue.

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