Defying Supreme Court, Punjab House passes resolution against SYL canal

6Chandigarh: In continued defiance of the Supreme Court ruling, the Parkash Singh Badal government on Wednesday got passed a resolution by the state assembly against handing over land for construction of the long-pending Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal.
The state assembly unanimously adopted a resolution “directing” the SAD-BJP government not to “hand over land to any agency” and also “not to allow anyone to work for the construction of the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal.”
Going a step further, the state assembly, which met for a special session within a week of the Supreme Court’s November 10 ruling declaring as “unconstitutional” a Punjab law of 2004 terminating a water sharing agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh, also adopted another resolution asking the state government to take up with Centre and neighbouring states the issue of levying “cost and royalty” for the water released.
A five-judge bench of the apex court had, on a Presidential reference, held that Punjab could not have unilaterally terminated the agreement.
The Supreme Court’s ruling favouring Haryana on the contentious SYL canal issue has set political temperature soaring in Punjab, with the state Congress chief Amarinder Singh quitting as MP. All 42 Congress MLAs have also resigned even as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has repeatedly asserted “not a drop of water” will be allowed to be taken out of the state. Though the resignation letters of the MLAs are yet to be accepted, they were not present in the House today.
The Badal government had yesterday announced denotification of land acquired for the project and decided to return it to the original owners at no cost.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal moved the resolution seeking a direction from the House to “the Punjab government, Cabinet and all government officers and officials not to hand over the land of Punjab for the construction of Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal, neither allow anybody to work on it, nor to cooperate for the said purpose”.
Another resolution was moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal seeking a direction from the assembly to the state government to take up the matter with the Centre, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi to levy “cost and royalty” on water being supplied to these states.
In his speech, Badal reaffirmed that the state has not even a single drop of river water to spare and that no water would be allowed to flow to Haryana. He accused the successive Congress governments at the Centre of meting out step-motherly treatment to the state.
The resolutions were passed unanimously.
The resolution moved by Mittal was amended to substitute the word “recommendation” with “direction” and incorporate “cost” besides “royalty” as the bill initially provided for.
The amended resolution passed by the House read: “It is a historical truth that before Independence whatever water was released by one state to another state, which had no right as per riparian principle, the cost and royalty was given to the riparian state for the same.”

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