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SC to Pb, Hry CMs: Sort out SYL row without ‘bloodshed’

July 29, 2020 08:02 AM

COURTESY TOI JULY 29

SC to Pb, Hry CMs: Sort out SYL row without ‘bloodshed’
AmitAnand.Choudhary@timesgroup.com

New Delhi:

In a last ditch effort to amicably resolve the decadesold dispute between Punjab and Haryana over the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the chief ministers of the two states to hold a meeting to sort out their differences and come out with a solution on the politically sensitive issue.


The apex court has been examining the dispute between the two warring states on watersharing since 1996 and has passed various directions to construct the 214-km canal that was to link Satluj in Punjab to Yamuna in Haryana. The canal was proposed in 1981 for effective allocation of water and the SC had in 2002 passed order in favour of Haryana but the project remained in limbo due to opposition from the Punjab government and protests by people. .

The SC had in July last year directed the CMs of the two states to appoint a committee of officers to work out a solution. It had asked the Centre to mediate between the two states.

As attorney general K K Venugopal told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari that no headway had been made on the issue after holding three meetings and the process slowed down due to the pandemic, the court said it would be better if the chief ministers themselves met to explore options for an amicable settlement.


SYL CANAL DISPUTE

SYL issue very sensitive for people of 2 states: AG

Though agreeing to the meeting of the two CMs, senior advocate Shyam Divan submitted that the apex court order had to be implemented and its enforcement should not be delayed. He said it was the responsibility of the Centre to execute the order passed by the SC.

The attorney general said the issue is very sensitive for the people of the two states and it would be better if the states themselves come to an amicable solution. He also said that the CMs should meet to discuss the issue. "We are facing a situation where two engineers associated with the project were killed," Venugopal said.

"Please make an effort to resolve it. There should not be any bloodshed," the bench told the advocates appearing for the two state governments. Senior advocate R S Suri, appearing for Punjab, said he is hopeful and if there is a chance of settlement, it must be explored.

The court, however, did not pass any order as the counsel of the states said they would convey the sentiment of the court to the persons concerned for the meeting of the chief ministers.

Haryana completed construction of the canal, but work on the portion in Punjab was halted after the initial phase of construction during the peak of terrorism. In 2004, the Congress government led by Amarinder Singh passed the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with the intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of Ravi and Beas. The law was passed after the SC in 2002 asked Punjab to honour its commitment with regard to water-sharing with Haryana. This Act was scrapped by the SC on November 11, 2016

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