Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged the Centre to look at the contentious Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal issue from the national security perspective. His remarks came after a meeting, convened by the Jal Shakti ministry, to discuss the issue. It was also attended by the Haryana CM and Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
“You have to look at the issue from the national security perspective. If you decide to go ahead with Sutlej Yamuna Link, Punjab will burn and it’ll become a national problem, with Haryana and Rajasthan also suffering from the impact,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The meeting, held through video conferencing, followed the Supreme Court’s direction to the Centre on July 28 to mediate between the two states to discuss the completion of the SYL Canal which has been in the works for many decades..
The Punjab CM has sought complete share of water for his state from the total resources available, including from river Yamuna.
“Today there was a meeting between Haryana, us and the minister of water resources. I told them that after the division of Punjab in 1966, all assets of ours were shared on a 60:40 basis, except water, because they included the water of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej but not Yamuna.
I have suggested that they should include the water of Yamuna also and then divide it on a 60:40 basis,” Singh said.
Haryana chief minister ML Khattar, who along with Shekhawat, joined the meeting from Delhi, said that both the CMs expressed their views on the issue and a second round of talks will be held soon.
Haryana has stuck to its stance that its share of 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) in the Ravi and Beas waters and the completion of the canal are absolutely non-negotiable. At present, Haryana gets 1.62 MAF of Ravi and Beas waters. Punjab on the other hand is furthering an argument that the volume of water available in its rivers has drastically reduced over the years.
(With inputs from agencies)