Sukhbir protests Centre’s decision to tweak BBMB appointments

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Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday described the Centre’s decision to tweak the appointment norms for members of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) as “a frighteningly grave development fraught with serious consequences for Punjab”.

In a statement here, Badal said: “The fact of the matter is that as per the law, precedents and the prevailing practices, the control of Satluj Beas headwork belongs exclusively to Punjab as a Riparian state. But first, they unconstitutionally took that control away from us and now they are shutting Punjab completely out of the BBMB.”

“This is the height of injustice against us. This is also another instance of the federal principle being outraged repeatedly by the governments at the Centre. We will fight it with all the might at our disposal.”

The Akali Dal president appealed to every Punjabi, including the political parties, to close ranks to fight for justice for the state.

He said the decision was yet another link in the long and painful chain of political, economic and religious discrimination against Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular. “Like every Punjabi, I have been shocked by the development. What was needed was to address the river waters question on the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian principle. But what the Centre is doing is to continue their systematic exploitation against the Riparian state — Punjab, to favour the non-Riparian Haryana and Rajasthan.”

He said the decision was certain to rub salt into the already festering wounds of the Punjabis and the farmers in particular.

The former Deputy Chief Minister said former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had challenged Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966 in the Supreme Court. “There is no compromise on Punjab’s and Akali stand on this. The Centre has no right to adjudicate on the river waters issues.”

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