An all-party meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday demanded reassessment of water availability in the state and said the Centre should ensure that the state's river water is not transferred from basin to non-basin areas.
It was also unanimously demanded that suitable amendments be made to the proposed Inter State River Water Disputes Act to set up a new tribunal, to ensure that Punjab gets adequate water "in a just and equitable manner in keeping with its total demand and securing livelihood of the future generations."
The resolution read: "Punjab does not have surplus water and is facing a threat of desertification with declining availability of its river water and fast depleting groundwater. State's groundwater that meets 73 per cent of its irrigation requirements, has declined to alarming levels, threatening the livelihood of farmers and other poor people."
"In such a situation, it is unanimously resolved that the Government of India should ensure that Punjab river water is not in any way transferred from basin to non-basin areas of three rivers, namely Ravi, Sutlej and Beas as per internationally accepted riparian principle," it added.
The resolution said that alternatives should be ascertained, including amendments to the proposed Inter State River Water Disputes Act, to set up a new tribunal for a complete assessment of availability of river waters "before final decision, to harness, develop and provide adequate water to Punjab in a just and equitable manner in keeping with its total demand and securing livelihood of the future generations."
Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said he hoped that the Supreme Court decision on the Sutlej Yamuna link (SYL) canal issue will come soon because in the previous execution order, it was stated that the issue should be resolved amicably.
The Satluj Yamuna Link Canal is a proposed 214-kilometer long canal to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. However, the proposal met obstacles and was referred to the Supreme Court. It defines river water sharing between Punjab and Haryana.
Mr Khattar said that the Supreme Court had asked the Punjab and Haryana governments to build the Sutlej Yamuna link canal by finding an amicable solution with mutual understanding, but in the all-party meeting, Punjab has taken a decision for their state. When this decision taken by Punjab goes to the Supreme Court, then surely the court will give its decision soon, he said.
The Haryana Chief Minister said that the statement given by Punjab is not convincing, as the top court had ordered an amicable solution.
"It seems that Punjab has backed out of the decision of settling the issue amicably. Now an affidavit will be filed in the Supreme Court by the Central Government that they have tried to resolve the matter but the consent has not been made. The decision will be held on how and who will be making it."