Punjab's SAD-BJP govt says no SYL water sharing, plans fresh legislation

11 November 2016

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal government in Punjab on Thursday said it would approach the President requesting him not to accept the Supreme Court judgement invalidating the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 and instead said it would bring fresh legislation.

The Supreme Court's verdict on Thursday set aside Punjab government's order repealing water sharing agreement with Haryana on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

The apex court ruled that the legislations passed by the Punjab government on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute stood null and void as a bilateral agreement couldn't be tampered with by one party alone.

The SAD also said the BJP is on its side on the issue despite holding the government in Haryana and that opposition from BJP's Haryana unit  will not be a problem.

Both SAD and the BJP also said that unlike the opposition Congress none of their MLAs would resign individually or en masse to protest the SC decision as it would remain symbolic to gain any political mileage in the 2017 assembly polls.

Reports quoting political sources said, the SAD-BJP government is planning to amend section 4 of the now-defunct 2004 Termination Act passed by the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government. "The new ordinance will be similar to our de-notification bill in March. Legislations can't be overturned by the Centre or Supreme Court, but can only be challenged," said a senior SAD minister.

No details were giver nor did chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal disclose how they would legally challenge the SC order. "We are taking three steps. First, we will approach the President to not accept the SC order. Second, we are calling a special Vidhan Sabha session to pass a cabinet resolution on not sharing any more water with any state on 16 November. Third, we have made a clarion call to all Punjabis to gather at Moga on 8 December to protest against the order," Parkash Singh Badal said. "Haryana is free to choose their path. We can't force them to toe our line, If they want to oppose they can," added Badal. He was flanked by SAD supremo Sukhbir Badal and cabinet minister and ally BJP MLA Madan Mittal.

''We are firm on our decision as this is not Punjab's political issue and people are saying it all wrong. This is the matter of livelihood and economics. And, if there will be no water, then how will farmers survive? Water is our lifeline and we will not let it go," badal said.

"I would like to say that this is not a share water with Haryana would be an obstacle to the economic development for the farmers decision, it is an advice. This issue of water is not something new to has natural rives and every "district receives their share of water. What we have got as Punjab, it is something very old. And Punjab never got water from any government, Punjab nature's gift is water and according to International Conventional Law, water belong to those from where the main river flows. We only want our right, we do not want anything else," he added.

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