Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today asserted there was no way the state could allow the construction of any canal for diversion of its river waters to other states. Making it clear that the Congress government in the state would take every possible administrative and legal action to save the river waters of Punjab, the chief minister said in the Assembly here that his government will not allow any attempt to divert the water of Ravi, Sutlej and Beas to any other non-basin states. "The state does not have any surplus water and any such attempt to divert its river water would render about one million acre of land in south-western Punjab barren and dry," he said. At a North Zone Council meet here last month chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Amarinder had pushed for a consensual resolution of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) dispute by calling for coordination of the states with the Centre. Pointing out that 2/3rd area of Punjab was a dark zone where ground water could not be extracted any more, Amarinder said in the Assembly that his government would continue to pursue the Centre with their own order declaring 112 blocks of Punjab as dark zones. He said the Congress government would urge upon the Central government to apprise the Supreme Court that "Punjab does not have surplus water and there is no way we can build any new canal for carrying river waters to other states". Reiterating his government's commitment to save and conserve precious water resources of the state, the chief minister said they intended to clean and revamp the existing canals to ensure supply of adequate waters to state's farmers. The government, he said, would re-visit the state's policy on ground water management and was also committed to establishing a State Groundwater Authority to monitor and manage ground water on continuous basis. The chief minister also announced steps to improve surface water availability and productivity by fully relining the canals and canalising rivers. Rural water supply and sanitation is another priority issue for the state government, he said. Noting that solid waste management was no longer confined to urban areas, he said, contrary to the approach of the previous government to concentrate only on constructing and reconstructing the "gallian naalian" (drainage) in the villages, his government proposed to initiate solid waste management projects in villages on a pilot basis. A total of 100 villages shall be taken up for the pilot in the very first year of the Congress government and eventually scaled up to cover the rest of the state, he added.
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