Political pulse: In hot water over Chandigarh resolution, Haryana PAA ‘guarantee’ on SYL channel

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In a one-day special session earlier this month, the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution reiterating the state’s claim to Chandigarh after the center notified Central Service Rules for Union Territory Employees instead of Punjab Service Rules.

This caused a long-running dispute between Punjab and Haryana to erupt over Chandigarh. The Haryana Vidhan Sabha responded a few days later by passing a resolution calling for the completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, bringing the dispute between the two states over the sharing of river waters back to the center of attention.

The AAP which seeks to expand in Haryana following its Punjab election victory is now caught in a stalemate as it faces criticism from Haryana opponents over the Punjab resolution on Chandigarh . To mitigate some of the fallout, the leader of the party in charge of the state, MP Rajya Sabha Sushil Gupta, said on Tuesday that it was a “guarantee” that water from the SYL canal would reach fields in the state in 2025 if the party was voted. in power in the 2024 legislative elections.

Gupta blamed the dispute on Congress and the BJP. “During this period (since the formation of Haryana), the Congress has been in power several times in Central, Punjab and Haryana. And on several occasions, in the Centre, in Haryana and Punjab, the BJP remained in power. They don’t want to solve this problem. They want to keep it so they can do vote bank politics. We have formed the government of Punjab and in 2024 we will form the government of Haryana. In 2025, water (from SYL) will reach every field in Haryana. This is not our promise but a guarantee.

Attacking the party led by Arvind Kejriwal, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader and son of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, Abhay Chautala, said: “The AAP is stuck on the Chandigarh issue. In Haryana, the SYL is the biggest problem and the AAP has a government in Punjab. The people of Haryana say that they (PAA Government of Punjab) should first give our share of water and then they should trust the AAP. According to the Shah Commission report, Chandigarh belongs to Haryana and the resolution passed by the AAP-led government in the Punjab Assembly should be withdrawn.

State Home Minister Anil Vij of the BJP said the AAP should have thought about the link between the SYL channel and the Chandigarh issue before presenting the House resolution. “SYL is our right,” Vij said. “A new government was formed in Punjab, soon after their formation they claimed their claim to Chandigarh. They must know that the Chandigarh problem is related to SYL.

The dispute dates back to 1966 when Punjab was reorganized and Haryana was formed. Punjab was opposed to sharing the waters of Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles. Construction of the canal was started on April 8, 1982 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of Kapoori village in Patiala district. But the Akali launched a campaign against its construction, and in July 1985 Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and later Akali Dal leader Sant Harchand Singh Longowal signed an agreement agreeing to a new tribunal to assess the water. Haryana has claimed the waters of Ravi-Beas through the SYL canal saying providing water for irrigation is a difficult task for the state. But Punjab refuses to part with it because, according to a study by the state government, many of its areas could dry up after 2029.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Haryana which had challenged the Termination of Punjab Agreements Act 2004, under which Punjab had canceled its water-sharing agreements with neighboring states. by Ravi Beas. At the time, Haryana’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar expressed hope that the ruling would pave the way for the state to receive its share of the water, but Punjab’s political leaders insist on the fact that the state has no excess water to spare.

Former Punjab University professor Manjeet Singh, who is currently part of the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) formed by farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal, accused the AAP of speaking the “language of BJP on emotional issues such as the SYL channel and the statute of Chandigarh.
“Like other political parties, Arvind Kejriwal has also opted for the same tactic. According to this tactic, the Punjab unit of the AAP will speak in favor of Punjab and the party leaders who have been assigned to Haryana like Sushil Gupta will speak in favor of Haryana so that the people (of the two states) keep fighting and their politics keep shining,” Singh said. “Such statements affect the brotherhood of the peoples of the two states. Farmers in both states have grown closer during the recent farmer unrest. They don’t want people from both states sticking together.

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