SYL canal will never be a reality: Punjab CM

Patiala (Punjab), March 31 (IANS) Asserting that Punjab did not have even a single drop of water to spare for other states, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal will never become a reality.

“The SYL agreement was a grave injustice done by successive Congress governments at the Centre with the state. The Shiromani Akali Dal has opposed it from the day one. Now, we will not allow the canal’s construction at any cost,” Badal said at a public meeting near here.

“Ironically, Capt. Amarinder Singh and other Congress leaders, who hailed the then prime minister Indira Gandhi for earth-breaking ceremony of this project in 1980s, are now resorting to tactics like earth-filling at the same site just to mislead the people.”

The chief minister said the move to share Punjab river waters would be disastrous as it would ruin the state.

He accused the then Congress government at the Centre of completely overlooking the universally accepted riparian principle on river-water sharing while drawing an agreement on the SYL canal.

“Not only me, but every Punjabi, is duty-bound to oppose this move and all of us should pledge to protect the state’s waters at any cost,” Badal added.

Major portions of the SYL canal, which aimed to link two major rivers of Sutlej and Yamuna in Punjab and Haryana, were completed in the 1990s at a cost of over Rs.750 crore.

The issue is now caught in a political and legal quagmire with Punjab and Haryana unwilling to give up their respective stands on sharing of river waters.

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