Punjab govt concerned over its right on river waters

Chandigarh, Mar 8: Noting that Punjab's right to waters of its rivers should be "safeguarded", Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki today appealed the Centre to remove "discrimination" in sharing it with neighbouring states.

Noting that "injustice and discrimination" was meted out to Punjab over its river waters, he said the people of the state have also been heavily discriminated against by refusal of the Centre to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab.


Addressing the budget session of the state Assembly on its opening day, Solanki, who is also Haryana's governor, said Punjab government had been seeking a solution to the river water issue in consonance with Riparian Principle.

"This (Riparian Principle) has been implemented to resolve river water disputes throughout the country," he said in his 36-minute address, initially marred by protest by Opposition Congress members over the issue.

"Several Punjabi speaking areas left out of the state at the time of reorganisation in 1966 have still not been included in Punjab," he said.

Recently, days after the Supreme Court began hearing the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal dispute on Presidential Reference, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had expressed hope the verdict would be in favour of his state.

While Khattar leads Haryana's BJP government, the party is SAD ally in Punjab, and Solanki is Governor of both states. Earlier, Congress MLAs stopped Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the entrance of Assembly over the SYL issue before the commencement of the Governor's address which delayed the speech by three minutes.

As the Governor started his address, Congress MLAs sporting black bands staged a demonstration in the Well of the House for about five minute before trooping out of the Assembly raising anti-government slogans.

On the issue of sacrilege incidents last year, Solanki said, the state government has decided to enhance the quantum of punishment for such acts from three years to life imprisonment under Section 295 A of the IPC.

"Out of the total 13 cases of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib, in seven the accused have already been traced arrested," he said, adding, "of the remaining six cases, two have been referred to the CBI."


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