Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the riparian principle was "totally non-negotiable" as the basis of river water distribution among states and any solution outside its purview would never be acceptable to Punjabis. His comments came on a day when the Supreme Court said the orders passed by it on the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal issue have to be "respected and executed" and the governments of Punjab and Haryana have a duty to obey them. The court has fixed the matter for hearing on September 7. Badal said the Supreme Court must clarify if states can have a claim over river waters "that do not even touch its boundaries". He also said the party was not against any negotiated settlement but there must be a "prior and outright acceptance" of the riparian principle by parties concerned. Riparian water rights is a system for allocating water among those who possess land along its path. His son and former deputy chief minuster Sukhbir Singh Badal, however, said Punjab's rights over its river waters were inalienable and could never become a matter of negotiation. The SAD president hit out at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for "being ready to negotiate with Haryana" to resolve the contentious issue. In a statement here, he said, "By stating that he is ready to start negotiations with Haryana on SYL issue, the chief minister has sent out a message that the waters of Punjab can be put on the negotiating table.
Nothing can be more absurd than this. What will he negotiate? Does he want to sell out the interests of Punjab?" The Punjab chief minister had today asserted that the SYL issue could be resolved only through negotiations and urged the Centre to facilitate dialogue with Haryana for early resolution of the matter.
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