Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday suggested that all-party meetings under the chairmanship of the prime minister be convened to evolve a consensus and formulate a national strategy to tackle water crisis in the country.
The chief minister made the suggestion during a courtesy call on Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat here.
Water is a national problem which needs to be discussed and resolved at the national level, he told reporters in an informal chat after meeting Shekhawat.
The all-party meetings could be held region-wise to make the process more streamlined and effective, with the prime minister chairing each of them, Singh said, expressing concern over the deteriorating water situation in the country.
These meetings, he said, would help develop consensus on steps needed to save the precious natural resource.
In response to a question, the chief minister said the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue between Punjab and Haryana was not discussed during his meeting with the Union minister as it was sub-judice.
The chief minister revealed that the problem of Punjab's Buddha Nullah came up for discussion and he assured Shekhawat that work is progressing to clean it. The state government had set for itself a two-year deadline for the task, he added.
The chief minister informed the Union minister that sewage treatment plants were being operationalised to ensure that the Buddha Nullah is not further polluted by affluent from various industries. The dyeing industry, he said, was a major cause for the problem.
A Punjab government statement claimed that Shekhawat appreciated the "Punjab bijli bachao paisa kamao" scheme.
Pointing out that 85 pc water goes into irrigation, he said if 10 per cent of the water used for agriculture could be saved, India's water problems would be solved for next 50 years.
Punjab, he said, could take the lead in this campaign, with incentives playing a major role in encouraging people to save water. Singh said the state government was planning to launch a major programme to recharge groundwater by using tube wells that are defunct now.
The Union minister asked Punjab to reduce the area under paddy cultivation, in response to which the chief minister stressed the need for the central government to support purchase of alternate crops like maize on MSP.
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