Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s statement on Sutlej-Yamuna Link stirs controversy


Amarinder Singh

New Delhi (PTI): Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday urged Punjab and Haryana for a concerted effort to resolve the contentious Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue.
Singh, while replying to a question on Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s statement on Monday that the construction of the canal to provide water to neighbouring Haryana could trigger a revival of militancy in the state, said the two states should undertake “joint efforts” to resolve the issue.
“They should try and find ways to solve the problem. At a recent meeting of the Northern Zonal Council, I had suggested the same and there was some kind of a consensus,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
The Punjab chief minister had warned: “Amarinder rahe na rahe (whether Amarinder is there or not), SYL will become a national issue if the final judgement goes against Punjab.”
The state would be “pushed back to the dark days of terrorism” if the solution to the dispute did not address its concerns, Singh had cautioned, adding that such a negative development could lead to a “major crisis”.
The Congress leader had also said he had requested the Union home minister to start negotiations on the SYL issue through the Water Resources Department “in the interest of peace and stability”.

Haryana Health minister Anil Vij attacked Amarinder Singh, alleging his remarks that Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue could revive militancy in that state were “encouraging terrorist ideology”.

Making it clear that Haryana will not back down until it gets its share of Ravi-Beas waters through SYL canal, he accused him of committing “a contempt of the Supreme Court”.

Singh had yesterday warned that the construction of the SYL canal to provide water to Haryana could trigger revival of militancy in Punjab.

“The main issue for the people of Haryana pertains to bringing the Ravi-Beas waters through SYL canal. The statement made by Amarinder Singh here yesterday was clearly a contempt of the Supreme Court,” Vij told reporters here.

“Amarinder Singh is also encouraging terrorist ideology through his statements which is not good for Punjab,” he said.

The Supreme Court on November 10 last year held as “unconstitutional” the 2004 law passed by the Punjab assembly which was intended to deny Haryana its share in the river waters through the SYL canal.

Singh was the Chief Minister when the Punjab assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004.