Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday raised the issue of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal after the formation of new government in Punjab, saying the neighbouring state is now doubly responsible as “we have to take water from Punjab and give it to Delhi”.
In such a situation, Punjab’s responsibility to provide water for the SYL canal is more as now both the states are ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The SYL canal, the major portions of which were completed in the 1990s at a cost of over Rs 750 crore, is entangled in a political and legal quagmire with Punjab and Haryana unwilling to give up their respective stands on the controversial canal issue and sharing of river water.
Officials told IANS that Delhi is demanding more water from Haryana due to increasing pressure of population from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Haryana is ready to give its share of water to Delhi, but the other states should also contribute to meet the water requirement of Delhi from the Sutlej, Beas and Ganga rivers.
Responding to another question, Khattar said the Punjab government would now have to think when the budget of the state would be presented. The debit to GSDP ratio of the state is 48 per cent, which is just 24.98 per cent in Haryana.
Khattar said that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal boasts of different things.
“Delhi cannot be compared to Haryana. There will be about 1,100 government schools in Delhi, but there are 15,000 government schools in Haryana. At the same time, the cultivated land there is very less as compared to Haryana, as we have 80 lakh acres of agricultural land.
“Similarly, different regions have different conditions, so Delhi cannot be compared to Haryana. But Haryana can definitely be compared to Punjab,” Khattar said.
Responding to a question, Khattar said the Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associates (CMGGA) programme in Haryana has nothing to do with any political organisation and the government does not pay them any salary.
Meanwhile, as a goodwill gesture, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann participated in the ‘Holi Milan Samaroh’ at the Haryana Raj Bhavan here on Thursday.
Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya welcomed Mann, who presented a bouquet to the former. Khattar and Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala also felicitated Mann with bouquets on the occasion. Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit also graced the occasion.