Punjab Council of Ministers led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today met President Pranab Mukherjee and urged him not to accept any advice on the SYL canal issue that violates basic Riparian rules.
The delegation apprised Mukherjee that acceptance of such advice would irretrievably prejudice the dictates of justice and fair play and handed over a memorandum in this regard.
It urged the President that nothing should be done to deprive the people of Punjab of their legitimate rights regarding waters of rivers of the state in violation of the universally accepted Riparian principle.
Any advice or decision which violates the Riparian principle would run against the dictates of constitutional framework of the country, it said.
Seeking justice from the President as the custodian of the Constitution which fully respects the Riparian principle, the delegation impressed upon him to keep in view that the Punjab government has already filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Section 78-79 of the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 and seeking a decision on the river waters in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle.
Badal, his deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, and other Cabinet colleagues informed the President that "a highly volatile situation" has arisen in Punjab following the opinion of Supreme Court upon the Presidential Reference on this issue.
This, he said, has given rise to extreme public reaction and severe unrest and anger among the residents including the farmers arising out of.
"The opinion of the Supreme Court has further caused immense stir and fear of sustained losses on all socio-economic parameters among the people of Punjab who have consistently faced the challenges of partition, the brunt of the wars with Pakistan and the period of social unrest," the delegation said.
A Punjab government statement said the state has been constantly making endeavours to meet the challenges of water scarcity, depleting water table and lack of availability of potable water.
The new development has delivered a big blow to residents of the State as they reel under the fear of non-availability of sufficient water resource.
"We have put forward our views in front of President and believe that we will get justice from him," Badal said after the meeting. The delegation sought Mukherjee's attention on "injustice" being meted out to Punjab on the issue of waters of its rivers. "The unprecedented decision of the government of India to submit this legislation to President of India for reference to the Supreme Court was clearly an act of unfair play," the memorandum said, adding that no state which claimed to have a stake in the matter, like Haryana and Rajasthan, challenged the Punjab Act in the Supreme Court. The memorandum further reads that as per universally accepted riparian and federal principles, river waters are the property of the riparian states.
The Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan was concluded in 1960 to distribute river waters. The Punjab Assembly has unanimously resolved that as there is not a single drop of water to spare, the SYL canal is neither feasible nor practicable nor should it be foisted on Punjab nor can any government in the state agree to any unconstitutional effort to loot the state of its river waters through the construction of such a canal. Accordingly, Punjab Council of Ministers has de-notified the acquisition of the land which had earlier been acquired for the unjust purpose of constructing the SYL. The delegation comprised cabinet ministers Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Madan Mohan Mittal, Jathedar Tota Singh, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Sohan Singh Thandal, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Daljeet Singh Cheema, Anil Joshi, Surjit Singh Rakhra and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.