Punjab CM prepares to battle ‘at any cost’ over water

Anandpur Sahib (Punjab): Asking people to prepare themselves for a “tough battle” ahead to safeguard the river waters of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday declared that the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal would not be allowed to be constructed “at any cost and under any circumstances”.

Addressing a big gathering during a religious congregation to mark Hola Mohalla festivities here, Badal said it was “high time to make supreme sacrifices rather than allowing the construction of the SYL canal as it would divest the people of Punjab of their legitimate rights over the river waters”.

“Punjab has suffered for too long on this front (water sharing). This is being done in blatant violation of the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle. “I appeal to Punjabis to prepare themselves for tough battles ahead for the purpose.

My party and government are ready to take the strongest measures needed in order to protect the interests of the people of Punjab,” Badal said. The Punjab assembly last week passed a resolution to de-notify the land acquired for the SYL canal nearly four decades ago.

The Punjab government has made it clear that the SYL will not be allowed to be completed and no more water will be shared with other states, especially Haryana. The Supreme Court, which is hearing the SYL issue, has asked Punjab and Haryana to maintain status quo in the matter.