Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], Aug 18 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that there is a need to look at the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue from a national security perspective and that Punjab will burn if a decision is taken to go ahead with the link canal.
Singh made these remarks during a meeting via video-conferencing with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on SYL canal issue.
"You have to look at the issue from the national security perspective. If you decide to go ahead with SYL, Punjab will burn and it will become a national problem, with Haryana and Rajasthan also suffering the impact," Singh said.
A Punjab government release said Singh told the meeting that after division of Punjab in 1966 all assets were shared on 60:40 basis except water.
Punjab had a right to Yamuna water, in which it did not get a share at the time of 60:40 division of assets with Haryana during the state's division in 1966, the Chief Minister said, even as he expressed his willingness to sit across the table with his Haryana counterpart ML Khattar to discuss the "emotive" issue.
He also suggested that Rajasthan be involved in discussions on the SYL and Ravi-Beas waters issue as it was also a stakeholder. He described the meeting as "positive and cordial" and said the Union Minister seemed to understand Punjab's viewpoint.
The Chief Minister said there is a need for a tribunal to make a fresh time-bound assessment of the water availability and fair adjudication of the water availability," Singh said.
He said water sharing proposed by Eradi Commission was 40 years old while international norms require a review every 25 years to ascertain the status.
He said trans-basin transfer of water can only be allowed from a surplus basis to a deficit basis, and, "as of today Punjab is a deficit state and could not, therefore, be asked to transfer water to Haryana".
He said Punjab remains at risk from all ends and Pakistan was continuing attempts to foment trouble "and to try and revive the separatist movement through the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) organisation".
The Chief Minister said the water issue could further destabilise the state.
Amarinder Singh said he had taken a concerted decision to terminate all water agreements back in 2004 to save Punjab from burning amid reports that violence could erupt in the state.
He said situation has aggravated since then and 109 of the state's 128 blocks had officially been declared as "dark zones".
He urged the central government to take the climate change effects into account. "The situation was likely to worsen with China constructing dams in their territory," he said, adding that this would lead to water shortage even in Sutlej.
Shekhawat said after the meeting that there will be second round of talks soon.
"We held a meeting on Sutlej-Yamuna link (SYL) canal in view of SC's order. CMs of Haryana and Punjab expressed their views, and we'll soon hold second round of talks on issue," he said. (ANI)