SAD urges for withdrawing Inter State Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill
(SAD delegation led by Sukhbir Badal meets Jal Shakti minister)
(Says passing Bill in present form will be grave injustice to Punjab)
Chandigarh, August 5 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today apprised union minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat that passing of the Inter State Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha in its present form would render grave injustice to Punjab and urged that it be withdrawn.
A SAD delegation led by its president Sukhbir Singh Badal while presenting a memorandum in this regard to the union Jal Shakti minister at Delhi, apprised him that Section 12 of the Bill was detrimental to the inhabitants of Punjab, particularly the peasantry which formed the backbone of the country. He said justice and fair play demanded that clause 12 of the Bill amending Section 14 be dropped in entirety and the existing pending application under Section 3 of the Inter State Water Disputes Act 1956 filed by the State of Punjab in 2003 which was lying unattended for 16 years.
The SAD president said the changed circumstances included the fact that Punjab was already facing acute water shortage with 80 per cent of its water blocks being officially declared as over exploited and in the danger zone. He said denial of justice to the farmers of Punjab would not be in national interest especially considering that Punjab had passed through hard times and was a sensitive border State.
Stating that Punjab’s case should be heard afresh, Mr Sukhbir Badal said Section 12 of the present bill would only serve to legitimize all the injustices meted to the State. He said these injustices included the arbitrary decision of the Congress government in 1955 to allocate as much as 8 MAF of Ravi-Beas water to non- riparian State of Rajasthan. He said in 1966 provisions were made in Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganization Act as part of a Congress conspiracy to allow centre to distribute Bhakra and Beas river waters by the centre failing agreement between the States. The SAD President said in 1981 the Congress government at the centre browbeat its Congress chief minister in Punjab to commit to implementation of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) project in a time bound manner besides withdrawal of case filed by the previous government led by S Parkash Singh Badal in the Supreme Court without any reservations.
Asserting that all these were historical wrongs, Mr Sukhbir Badal said there was a need to correct them and the Inter State Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2019 should not be passed in its present form. The other members of the delegation included Jathedar Tota Singh, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Darbara Singh Guru.