Punjab’s decade old law on River Water Sharing scraped by SC
Punjab must share water with Haryana, the Supreme Court ruled, terming “unconstitutional” a law the state passed in 2004 to end all its water agreements with neighbouring states. The verdict, 12 years after a presidential reference to the court, has sharply escalated politics in Punjab ahead of polls next year.
Top 10 Developments On this Issue are-
- A five-judge constitution bench said that Punjab cannot unilaterally avoid an agreement involving other states.
- The row involves sharing of the waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers primarily between Punjab and Haryana, besides Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
- The court also said that the Sutlej Yamuna canal or SYL canal, proposed for water-sharing between Punjab and Haryana, has to be completed.
- The Sutlej Yamuna canal was planned after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. The proposed 214 km canal connects the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. ┬á
- Punjab has been regularly opposing the canal saying its agriculture will suffer. It has not constructed its part of the canal though Haryana has.
- In 2004, the Congress government led by Amarinder Singh brought the Punjab Termination Agreement Act, 2004, scrapping all water-sharing agreements with neighbouring states. Then President APJ Abdul Kalam referred the law to the Supreme Court and asked whether it is legally valid.
- The court ruled that construction of the canal should continue “without any hindrance”. In defiance of the court’s orders, the Punjab assembly passed a resolution earlier this year to return the land it had acquired for the construction of the SYL canal. Haryana then went to court.
- All parties in Punjab, including the ruling Akali Dal and the opposition Congress, are on the same side on the controversy. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has said Punjab will not spare “even a drop” of its water for any other state.
- State Congress chief Amarinder Singh quits as a parliamentarian, said: “There will be disastrous consequences. 10 lakh acres of land will go completely dry, the livelihood of millions will be hit.”
- The Punjab cabinet has passed a resolution to not allow water to be shared. A special session of the assembly will be called on November 16 and 17.
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