Punjab accuses Central Water Commission of adopting double standard

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Chandigarh, Nov 7 (UNI) Punjab Cooperation Minister Kanwaljit Singh today accused the Central Water Commission (CWC) of adopting double standards and discriminatory attitude towards Punjab on the sharing of Satles-Beas waters and in the specific case of Hansi-Butana issue.

Lashing out at the Centre for its ''dubious'' role on the issue, he said that gross violations had been committed on the settled law of land.

Capt Singh said that on the one hand the CWC was not clearing irrigation projects of Punjab because of inter-state implications even when the state assured to draw water from its own quota and on the other it had cleared various projects of Haryana.

The response of CWC and Government of India has always been negative to the demands of Punjab to start irrigation projects by using Punjab's own share of water in the Satlej-Beas system to bring water to those areas which are lacking ground water and surface irrigation facilities, Capt Singh said.

The dry land farming practices particularly in the areas falling in Ropar, Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts are responsible for the poor farm returns which are a matter of serious concern to the state and its farmers, he said.

Surely different yard sticks cannot be applied for the clearance of projects which have been framed for providing irrigation facilities to the areas earlier included in the SYL Canal Project.

The Hansi-Butana project was started by Haryana in haste without a proper project report, technical appraisal by the CWC and concurrence of states of Punjab and Rajasthan which was mandatory under article 13 of Bhakra Nangal Agreement of 1959 and even without mandatory requirement of environmental and forest clearances.

He reminded the CWC about the inter-state meeting held under its aegis on March 17, 2006 and attended by representatives of Haryana, in which it was specifically decided that since the project had inter-state implications, it would be appraised by the CWC and Haryana would obtain concurrence of Punjab and Rajasthan and also of BBMB before starting the project.

However, without caring for the decisions taken in the meeting, Haryana ''illegally'' started the construction of the project in April 2007.

Capt Singh said although Punjab had strongly put up the case of its farmers indebtedness before the Government of India, no favorable response had been received from the Centre. However, it waived off debts of farmers of Congress-ruled states, amounting to crores of rupees. He said Punjab contributed 60 per cent grain to the food security system of the country.

UNI

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