The Supreme Court on Thursday gave six weeks’ time to the Centre to explore the possibility of an amicable solution to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal row between neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana.
The Supreme Court on Thursday gave six weeks’ time to the Centre to explore the possibility of an amicable solution to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row between neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana. The time was granted after attorney general KK Venugopal informed a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that efforts were on to resolve the dispute between the two states. It posted the matter for further hearing on November 8, the day when the Centre would apprise it about the final outcome of the negotiations over the long pending issue.
The apex court had on July 11 said it was obligatory on the part of Punjab and Haryana to respect and execute its orders on the SYL canal issue. The 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.
While Haryana constructed the portion of the SYL canal on its side, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to a spate of litigations.
In 2004, the apex court had ruled in a 1996 case that construction of the SYL canal should continue without any hindrance. In 1981, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan signed an agreement for the canal construction in a time-bound manner.
The Punjab Assembly, in 2004, had abrogated the water agreement with Haryana by passing the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of the Ravi and Beas. The Congress was in power in Punjab at that time. However, the Supreme Court last year in November set aside the Punjab government’s 2004 order quashing water sharing agreement with neighbouring states.
Terming it unconstitutional, a five-judge Constitutional bench had ruled that the legislations passed by the Punjab government on SYL canal that terminated the water sharing agreement with neighbouring states stand null and void as a bilateral agreement cannot be tampered with by one party alone.