Upping its ante on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, Haryana’s main opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) today said its youth workers will stop the Punjab Roadways buses in Haryana on July 10, demanding construction of the canal. Briefing reporters after the party’s state executive meeting here today, INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala said his party workers will also stop the Punjab government vehicles entering Haryana on the day.He said although private vehicles from Punjab will be allowed, the motorists will be given a rose and a copy of the memorandum containing the INLD’s demands on the SYL issue.
Chautala said the decision in this regard was taken at the party executive committee meeting, wherein it was decided to stop the government vehicles of Punjab going towards New Delhi. He, however, made it clear that no emergency vehicle like ambulances will be stopped.The apex court has posted the hearing on the water sharing dispute on July 11.
The INLD leader also hit out at the Punjab unit of the BJP for throwing its weight behind the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government on the SYL issue.On being asked about their protest venue, Chautala said it would be either around Rajpura-Ambala border or on the Ambala-Delhi National Highway 1.Hitting out at the Delhi government for adopting “dissuading tactics” against INLD workers protesting over the SYL canal issue at Jantar Mantar there, he said from May 1, the party workers will start dharna at sub-divisional levels in their respective assembly constituencies in Haryana and submit memoranda to their respective deputy commissioners.
Chautala had two months ago tried to march to Punjab from near Shambhu barrier on Haryana-Punjab border to undertake the digging of the SYL canal, but was arrested for breaching prohibitory orders. However, he along with other INLD leaders were later released by the Punjab Police.
Over a month ago, hundreds of INLD supporters from Haryana had flooded the Parliament Street in the heart of the national capital to protest over the SYL canal issue, prompting police to resort to lathicharge.
Earlier this week, INLD had also attacked Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for not taking with him an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.
For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct their portions within their territories.
Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to a spate of litigations.In 2004, the Congress government in the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.
The apex court had first decreed the suit of Haryana in 2002 asking Punjab to honour its commitments with regard to water sharing in the case.
Punjab challenged the verdict by filing an original suit that was rejected in 2004 by the Supreme Court which asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructural work of the SYL canal project.Chautala also demanded Rs 25,000 compensation for wheat crop per acre in case of fire.
He hit out at the BJP-led state government in Haryana over its “failure to lift mustard crops in time, following which the farmers had to sell off their crops for about Rs 3,200 a quintal below the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,700.”
INLD also took a dig at the Khattar government over power and water shortage in the state.