No question of construction of SYL as Punjab not even has single drop of water to share with other states: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Thursday unequivocally said that the question of constructing the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal does not arise as the state is not having a single drop of water to share with anyone.
Solidly presenting the case of Punjab in the interstate meet convened by the Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhwat, the Chief Minister said that the state needs more than 54 MAF water to cater to its irrigational needs. However, he said that the situation is so grim that Punjab only has around 14 MAF of water, which it is providing to the food growers. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that in such a scenario there is no question of sharing even a drop of water with any other states therefore Punjab vehemently opposes the construction of SYL.
The Chief Minister firmly said that Satluj river has already dried up and there is no question of sharing even a single drop of water from it. He categorically said that Punjab has no surplus water to share with Haryana and reassessment of availability of water is required as per international norms. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that Punjab’s 76.5% blocks (117 out of 153) are over exploited where the stage of ground water extraction is more than 100%, whereas in Haryana only 61.5% (88 out of 143) are over exploited.
The Chief Minister said that the water crisis can never be ignored due to which the state will oppose any move to construct the SYL tooth and nail. Showing deep concern over the gravity of the emerging situation following the fast depleting water table, Bhagwant Singh Mann said that it is really pathetic to learn that the same high powered motors that are used to extract oil in Dubai and other Gulf nations are being used for gushing out ground water in the state. He said that in such an alarming situation how construction of SYL canal can be allowed for sharing of waters of the state.
The Chief Minister reiterated that the state has no spare water to share with any other state so instead of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, the project should be now reconceived as Yamuna Satluj Link (YSL). He said that Satluj river has already dried up and there is no question of sharing even a single drop of water from it. Rather, Bhagwant Singh Mann said that water from Ganga and Yamuna should be supplied to Punjab through Satluj river adding that he has raised this issue with the Union government too.
The Chief Minister said that the state Government has emphatically presented the issue of the less availability of water and it has been recorded too in the decision of the Apex Court. He said that in the coming hearings too Punjab will solidly present its case in the Supreme Court of India to protect the rights of our coming generations. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the Punjab government is duty bound to ensure that the interests of the state and its people are safeguarded by all means and no stone will be left unturned for it.
The Chief Minister also said that though these states always claim for their right on water of the state but when Punjab was flooded due to excess water from the hilly areas these states had refused to take water from Punjab. He said that Punjab had borne the brunt of the floods due to excessive rain in the hilly areas but these states who claim their right on our waters were unfazed by it. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that Punjab had suffered huge losses but these states who demand water from the state were unaffected by it.