Badal lashes out against Water Commission on Hansi-Butana issue

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Chandigarh, Nov 1 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today came down heavily on the Central Water Commission (CWC) for what he described as its "duplicity of standards on the Hansi-Butana issue".

In a statement here, he said "It is a paradoxical situation that the project of Sri Dasmesh Canal was stalled by CWC in case of Punjab but it never objected to Haryana's Hansi-Butana Canal for providing irrigation facilities to the areas earlier included in the SYL canal project".

"Surely, different yardsticks can not be applied for clearance of projects which have been framed for providing irrigations facilities to the areas under the SYL project", he added.

Mr Badal said that there were reports that served as strong pointer towards Centre's dubious role on the issue as it has committed "gross violations" of the settled law of the land to justify this "misadventure".

Mr Badal contested the claim of Haryana that Punjab a decade back had mooted a proposal to CWC for the construction of Sri Dasmesh Irrigation Project for irrigating the areas of Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts which was turned down by the commission on the plea that the project could not be cleared as it was earlier included in part III of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) Project and the want of concurrence of the partner states that is Rajasthan and Haryana which was mandatory under Article 13 of the Bhakra Nangal Agreement, 1959.

Terming the Hansi-Butana Canal project as "totally illegal" and "ill- conceived", Mr Badal said that the project had inter-state implications as Bhakra Main Line (BML) canal was an interstate channel.

He, however, said that the project was started by Haryana in haste without a project report in place, without technical appraisal by the CWC, without concurrence of the states of Punjab and Rajasthan and without mandatory requirement of environmental and forest clearances.

The Chief Minister squarely blamed the Centre for its discriminatory and apathetic attitude towards Punjab and giving undue favour to Haryana on the issue of "illegal" construction of Hansi-Butana Branch Link Channel, thereby grossly jeopardizing the interests of farmers of Punjab.

Mr Badal sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to review the entire case in the light of the facts and immediately direct the Haryana government to restrain from further undertaking the construction activity on this project.

Mr Badal reiterated that Punjab had no surplus water to share with its neighbouring states. Consequently, the withdrawal of 2086 cusecs of water from Bhakra Main Line canal would also adversely affect the water supply to channels of Punjab and Rajasthan in the specified areas under the Bhakra Nangal Agreement, 1959, he added.

UNI

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