Punjab farmers protest central team’s SYL visit

Chandigarh, March 22 (IANS) A central team on Tuesday visited different places in Punjab to assess the damage done to the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal, and faced protests by a few farmers carrying black flags and shouting slogans during the visit.

The central team led by Home Ministry Joint Secretary Dalip Kumar, was accompanied by Punjab Irrigation Secretary K.S. Pannu, other state officials and a Punjab Police contingent.

The team visited the canal sites in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar districts.

The protesting farmers waved black flags at the visiting team and raised slogans against the Haryana and central governments.

Farmer leaders said that the state’s peasants will oppose any move to construct the SYL canal.

The team’s visit comes amid farmers’ action to fill up constructed portions of the canal with soil. Some farmers had even hired JCB machines to fill up the canal last week.

The Supreme Court last week ordered a status quo on the SYL issue after the Punjab assembly passed a bill to de-notify the land acquired for the canal nearly four decades ago.

The Punjab assembly’s move led to a bitter war of words between the governments and leaders of both Punjab and Haryana.

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