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CM teaming up with Congress to facilitate successful conduct of central survey – SAD


Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said after compromising the interests of Punjab in the Supreme Court at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Convener Arvind Kejriwal’s instance, chief minister Bhagwant Mann was now teaming up with the Congress party to facilitate successful conduct of a central survey to release Ravi-Beas water to Haryana through the SYL canal.

Addressing a press conference here, senior SAD leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government seemed to have forgotten all the historic injustices meted out to Punjab by the Congress party be it giving away of half of its river waters to Rajasthan in 1955 to further division of another half of the remaining water to Haryana and decision to create and inaugurate digging of the SYL in 1981 and 1982 respectively. “Instead of mentioning these injustices as well as telling Punjabis why it had failed to defend the State’s case in the Supreme Court, the AAP government has started a vilification campaign against the SAD. This is not in the interest of the State as it is tantamount to playing into the hands of anti-Punjab parties who want to rob us of our river waters”.

Dr Daljit Cheema also decried AAP for using a one page document of former Haryana chief minister Devi Lal’s speech in the Vidhan Sabha to defame the SAD. He said the speech, which was delivered for the consumption of Haryana legislators, only talked about the Punjab government’s intention to acquire land in three villages under section 4 of the land acquisition act. “The AAP government has forgotten that the SYL was built over a 122 kilometer span and that administrative approval for the same was given by Giani Zail Singh in 1977 and Rs one crore was also received by the Zail Singh government from Haryana during this period”.

He said despite this state of affairs after assuming power in 1978 the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal challenged section 78 of the Punjab Reorganization Act which gave power to the centre to allocate river waters between Punjab and Haryana. “Badal Sahab also did not allow the SYL canal to be constructed during his period as chief minister. He also launched a morcha to stop construction of the SYL at Kapuri village after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi inaugurated work on the project in 1982. All this is part of record and makes it clear that Mr Badal was the real defender of the river waters of the State”.

Asking the AAP government not to do politics on such a sensitive issue, Dr Cheema said Punjabis were perturbed that AAP actually stood for construction of the SYL canal and release of Punjab’s waters to Haryana. “AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal has made this clear ample times”. He said AAP had also given a guarantee in Haryana that it would ensure water from the SYL reached each and every corner of the State in case the party came to power in the State in 2024.

Asserting that this was not a time to do politics, Dr Cheema said “an effort should have been made to take all parties on one page on SYL”. He said even now the government should emphasize on a central legislation to correct the historic injustices done to Punjab vis a vis the SYL and water sharing agreements.

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