SAD WILL TOLERATE NO DEVIATION FROM RIPARIAN PRINCIPLE
Chandigarh January 22 – The Shiromani Akali Dal today warned the Punjab Chief Minister not to do anything which violates the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle and dilutes Punjab’s claim as the exclusive owner of the entire water of the rivers flowing through the state.
“ Punjab cannot accept anything that violates this principle according to which no state through which the rivers do not flow has any right on the waters of those rivers,” said a Resolution passed at a meeting of the Core Committee chaired by the party president Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal here this afternoon.
Saying that the party will participate in tomorrow meeting convened by the CM t discuss the waters issue, the SAD warned the Congress government in the state against any move to impose electricity bill and to discontinue the free power facility to the farmers under the pretext of falling water levels in the state.
The party decided that it would participate in the meeting called by the Punjab CM tomorrow to discuss the river waters question, among other waters related issues. The SAD will send a three member delegation to represent it in the meeting, comprising Sr Vice Presidents Sardar Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra and S Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal.
The SAD also urged the CM to convene a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to categorically assert that Punjab will accept no decision on river waters issue that violates the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle. The session must pass a resolution that there can be no exception such as the one made in clause 5 of the Termination of Agreements Act which guarantees to continue with water already going to Haryana and Rajasthan. The SAD had stood by the Punjab CM then in view of the special situation obtaining due the Supreme Court order. Now the situation has changed and that clause must be dispensed with through a new legislative measure. Says the SAD resolution
The Core Committee Resolution further said that the ‘successive Congress governments at the centre, especially the one headed by Mrs Indira Gandhi, had robbed Punjab of it only natural resource – the river waters – and had unjustly and forcibly given Rajasthan and Haryana waters from the Punjab rivers in compete violation of the Riparian Principle. “The decisions of Mrs Gandhi who as Prime Minister had no jurisdiction over the River Waters question, were challenged by the former Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Parkash Singh Badal in the Supreme Court. But the case was withdrawn later when the Congress formed a government in the state under S Darbara Singh. Darbara Singh forced to choose between not withdrawing the case and remaining the CM. He chose to remain the CM”.
Mr Badal challenged the Congress government’s decision again when he became the Chief Minister a third time. SAD wants the Supreme Court to adjudicate on the constitutionality of the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966 which has a clause which has an illegal clause that affects Punjab’s rights over its river waters. “The issue of the distribution of river waters between states arises only after the issue of the right over these waters had been adjudicated upon. We want the CM to stand by the Riparian Principle alone and not to do anything that compromises Punjab’s claims as per this principle.
The Resolution drew attention to the “grave crisis facing Punjab which threatens to turn the state into a desert. It also urged the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh to demand royalty running into thousands of crores of rupees from Rajasthan alone for the waters from Punjab rivers which that state has illegally and unconstitutionally been using since the 1950s, as the rivers do not even flow through it (Rajasthan).”