Capt Amarinder urges Centre to be cautious on ‘emotive’ SYL issue

Chandigarh, August 18, 2020: Urging the central government to be cautious on the SYL issue, which had the potential to disturb the nation’s security, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday reiterated the need for a Tribunal to make a fresh time-bound assessment of the water availability, even as he sought complete share of water for his state from the total resource available, including from River Yamuna.
“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,” Captain Amarinder told the Centre, during a Video Conference with Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The Chief Minister later described the meeting as `positive and cordial’ and said the Union Minister seemed to understand Punjab’s viewpoint.
Punjab remains at risk from all ends, said Captain Amarinder, pointing to Pakistan’s continued attempts to foment trouble and to try and revive the separatist movement through the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) organisation. The water issue could further destabilise the state, he warned.
Punjab had a right to Yamuna water, in which it did not get a share at the time of the 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 Canal/Ravi-Beas waters issue as it was also a stakeholder.
It was decided during the meeting that the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana will meet in Chandigarh, on a date to be fixed later, for further talks on the issue, and will then go to the Union Minister again.
Putting forth Punjab’s stand during the VC, Captain Amarinder said it was necessary to set up a Tribunal for fair adjudication of the water availability, and pointed out that the water sharing proposed by Eradi Commission was forty years old, while international norms require a review every twenty-five years to ascertain the status.

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