New Delhi, July 25: The Haryana gvoernment on Wednesday sought an early hearing in the contentious Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal case, a decades old water sharing issue between Haryana and Punjab. Haryana Governemnt has reportedly sought implementation of Supreme Court's 2003 verdict which asked Punjab Government to construct its portion of SYL canal.
On July 11, the apex court said it was obligatory for Punjab and Haryana to respect and execute its orders on the SYL canal issue. The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.
The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The bench asked Haryana's counsel to approach the apex court registry for listing of the matter before an appropriate bench. The apex court had earlier granted the Centre time to explore the possibility of an amicable solution to the SYL canal row between Punjab and Haryana, a PTI report said.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar
Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to a spate of litigations. In 2004, the Congress government in the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with the intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers.
The apex court had first decreed Haryana's suit in 2002 asking Punjab to honour its commitments with regard to water sharing in the case. Punjab had challenged the verdict by filing an original suit that was rejected in 2004 by the Supreme Court which asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructure work of the SYL canal project.
Current Status (Representational image used)
The canal is 85% complete with Haryana government completing its part of the canal. It has completed 92 km of canal in its land. Haryana would benefit enormously by gaining water from Ravi-Beas from Punjab. On 30 November 2016, the Supreme Court appointed the Union Home Secretary, Punjab's Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police as receivers for submitting a report on the present status of land and other properties on the canal site by 15 December. The receivers submitted their reports as per schedule, stating in the reports that there was no fresh or deliberate damage to the canal.
How the dispute began?
The dispute regarding sharing of river water emerged after Punjab was reorganised in 1966, and the state of Haryana was created. Haryana demanded 4.8 MAF out of Punjab's total 7.2 MAF share of water from the rivers, while Punjab claimed the entire quantity belonged to it. Haryana asked the Union government to intervene as no agreement could be reached. In 1976, when the country was under an internal emergency, an executive order was issued by the Union government which allocated 3.5 MAF of water to both states while Delhi received the remaining 0.2 MAF. In order to make full use of the allocated water, a Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal was proposed.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs