Water issue: Badal asks people to prepare for long fight

Chandigarh, Mar 14: Raising the political pitch on Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal issue, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today virtually ruled out sharing of water with Haryana and asked the people of the state to prepare for a long democratic and peaceful fight for justice.

"Punjab does not have a drop of water to spare and there is no question of our accepting or implementing any decision which deprives us of our fundamental right under the riparian principle," he said.


"It's time to prepare for supreme sacrifices for the cause of our state and the future of our children," he said as the festering row between Punjab and Haryana over sharing of the Ravi-Beas waters escalated.

Badal made these remarks while winding up debate on the Motion of Thanks on Governor's Address. He said he was prepared to shed the last drop of his blood rather than allowing a single drop of water to flow out of the state in violation of laws of justice and fair play.

In an impassioned plea, the Chief Minister invoked history and religious heritage to emphasise that it was unrealistic to expect justice without being ready for make sacrifices for securing it.

"Do not take justice for granted. Justice does not drop into the lap of the sleeping and the lazy. You have to wake up and fight for it," he said.

Earlier in the day, Punjab Assembly passed a bill against construction of contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, sparking an immediate adoption of a resolution by Haryana Assembly condemning the other state's move as "unconstitutional".

The Chief Minister alleged that the present agony of Punjab was rooted in "serial acts of discrimination and brazen injustice" by successive Congress governments at the Centre and its "meek and submissive surrender" of Punjab's rights by the state governments led by the party.

"The need for de-notification of land acquisition would not have arisen if (the then chief minister) Captain Amarinder Singh had done it in 2004 as a part of the Termination of Agreements Act. Why he did not do so and let down the farmers of the state?" Badal said.

Joining issue with Congress leaders who sought to justify Congress' stand by supporting today's motion on waiving all compensation from farmers for SYL land, Badal asked "if you think it is being done because of your stand, may I ask you what were you doing when you were in government? Why did not you not do it in the long years when you were in power here?" The Chief Minister said that water issue was not merely restricted to peasantry but every section of the society was affected by it.

He said that there would be no agriculture without water and without agriculture there would be no trade and industry. "If this injustice didn't stop, then every Punjabi will be deprived of even a single drop of drinking water and the life will be in shambles," he said.


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