Giving a clarion call to people of the state to prepare themselves for tough battle ahead to safeguard the river waters of the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today unequivocally declared that the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal would not allowed to be constructed at any cost and under any circumstances.Addressing a mammoth gathering during religious congregation to mark the commemoration of historic Hola Mohalla here today, the Chief Minister without mincing any words said that it was high time to make supreme sacrifices rather than allowing the construction of SYL canal as it would divest the people of Punjab of their legitimate rights over the river waters, in blatant violation of the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle. Committing his party and government to the strongest measures needed in order to protect the interests of the people of Punjab, Mr. Badal appealed to Punjabis to prepare themselves for tough battles ahead for the purpose.
The Chief Minister said that he had recently declared to safeguard the river waters of the state at any cost in accordance with the Riparian Principles in the august house of Punjab Vidhan Sabha adding that from this sacred land of martyrs today he declares that any such decision aimed at robbing the state and its people of their rights was, is and would never be accepted to me and SAD-BJP alliance. Mr. Badal expressed gratitude to the state BJP leadership especially Cabinet Minister Mr. Madan Mohan Mittal and state BJP Chief Mr. Kamal Sharma, who had fully supported the state’s cause for river waters.
Recalling the long ordeal of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for waging a relentless battle to protect the interests of the state, the Chief Minister assailed the Congress for depriving the genuine rights especially related to river waters during their successive governments at the centre. He chided the state Congress leadership for being mute spectators that surrendered haplessly before their party high command in brazen defiance of the interests of the state and its people. As a testimony to their betrayal towards the state and its people the then Chief Minister of Congress Mr. Darbara Singh along with Captain Amarinder Singh, who was MP at that time, accompanied the Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi for performing earth breaking ceremony of the SYL Canal, at Kapoori in 1982.
Referring to Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004, which Congressmen claimed as their major contribution, the Chief Minister said that all the Agreements which were terminated through this Act, were done by the Congress governments. Thus the Act was a mere admission of guilt by the Congress government headed by Captain Amarinder Singh. This Termination Act terminated nothing but the agreements signed by the Congress governments alone themselves. He said the passage of this agreement was in fact an unintentional admission of guilt by the Congress government.Holding the Congress party squarely responsible for meting out step motherly treatment with Punjab in every sphere be it political, social, economic and even religious, the Chief Minister said that the Punjabis in general and Sikh community in particular could never forgive the Congress party for its sins against Punjab. Mr. Badal said that how could the Sikh community forget sins of Congress like Operation Blue Star and 1984 anti-Sikh carnage, which have inflicted deep wounds on the Sikh psyche. He further bemoaned that the Congress governments at the centre had deliberately denied the state of Punjabi speaking areas, its capital Chandigarh and even its legitimate share in river waters.
Tracing the history of long struggles waged by his party, the SAD, and Punjabis in general, the Chief Minister said that he and the SAD-BJP government had neither accepted in the past nor would accept now nor ever in future any decision taken at any level to take away our vital river waters from Punjab. Mr. Badal said that there was a wide consensus that Punjab did not have even a single drop of water to spare for any other state, neither is it even possible to do so. In view of that, there never had been any need nor was there one now to construct the SYL canal. He categorically said that they would not allow this canal to be constructed at any cost.On the occasion, the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister were honored for championing the cause of peasantry by bestowing ‘Kissana da Messiah’ and ‘Paaniyaan da Raakha’ award. As a token of honor and services rendered by them for well being of peasantry, the Chief Minister was presented a ‘Wooden Plough’ whereas Deputy Chief Minister was given a model of “Well”.
In his speech, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, S. Sukhbir Singh Badal today strongly castigated Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for playing dirty politics on SYL issue which is of utmost importance to the state. He said that both congress and AAP have displayed height of political opportunism and their dubious role has come to the fore on crucial SYL issue. He said that while Punjab Vidhan Sabha was deliberating on SYL issue and bill to de-notify the land acquired from farmers for SYL was being brought, congress MLAs resorted to dirty tactics of staging walkouts. Taking on AAP, Deputy CM said that its convener and Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal gave statement supporting Punjab’s stand on SYL but changed his tune as soon he reached Delhi which was equivalent to stabbing Punjabi people in the back.
Earlier, he said that Chief Minister, S. Parkash Singh Badal has always acted as savior of Punjab’s interests whose saying is final on every issue including state’s waters. Elaborating further, he said that development of Punjab has only taken place with SAD-BJP Government at the helm and the state government under dynamic leadership of S. Parkash Singh Badal has promulgated several people friendly schemes and initiatives for e.g.--- waiving of tubewell bills, enacted law according to which government would fix interests to be paid at loans, loans worth Rs. 50000 for crops from co-operative banks at which no interest would be payable. He said kandi and Bist Doab canals to have water soon and farmers having under 2.5 acres of land to be given tubewell connection in 15 days, adding he said provident fund and pension scheme for farmers, Atta-Dal scheme, shagan scheme, enhancement of old age pension, health and accidental insurance for farmers and poor people have also been launched.Divulging more, he said state government is soon going to advertise 1.15 lakh vacancies which would provide employment to youth. Coming on to skill sector, Deputy CM said in next 12 months around 1.5 lakh-2 lakh youths would be given skill training to prepare them for cut throat competition and demands of industrial sector. Terming development as key points of election agenda, he said that sensible people of Punjab would not pay heed to anti-Punjab congress and AAP’s utterances and would always stand for prosperity of state.
Hailing the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal for taking historic step to safeguard the rights of farmers by bringing a bill to de-notify the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, the Revenue, Information and Public Relations Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia in his address said that under the leadership of Mr. Badal the youth of the state was ready to make every sacrifice to safeguard the interests of the state. Accusing both Captain Amarinder Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Mr. Arvind Kejriwal for ignoring the interests of the state, he said that while Captain had welcomed the foundation of SYL canal in 1982, Kejriwal's reality has been exposed of his being doublespeak as he changed his stand on this issue within hours of his Punjab visit. Welcoming the resolution presented by Mr. Badal in Punjab Vidhan Sabha to not allow the construction of SYL Canal at any cost, the Minister categorically said that the bill presented during the Captain regime in 2004 had several shortcomings. However, he said that the in “Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Proprietary Rights) Bill, 2016”, which was passed unanimously in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, under the leadership of Mr. Badal, concrete steps have been taken to ensure that the SYL canal was not constructed at any cost as the state did not have a single drop of water to share with anybody.
Mr. Majithia said the historic decision of giving the land, acquired for the construction of SYL, back to its owner, free of cost and paying back of Rs 192 crore back to Haryana, which was taken for the construction of the canal spoke volumes of Mr. Badal’s concern and sincerity to protect the rights of state and its people. “As a real custodian of rights of Punjabis the Chief Minister has through this bill buried the issue of SYL forever, which is really laudable” he added.
Earlier welcoming the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, the Education Minister Dr. Daljeet Singh Cheema said that the state would ever remain indebted for their path breaking initiatives to ensure overall development of the state and prosperity of its people. He highly appreciated the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister for taking special initiative for enactment of law on the Agriculture Indebtedness and ensuring stringent punishments to the perpetrators of heinous crime of desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
Earlier, the Chief Minister paid obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib and was presented a robe of honor (Siropa) by Jathedar Giani Mal Singh.
Prominent amongst other present on the occasion included Cabinet Ministers Jathedar Tota Singh and Mr. Madan Mohan Mittal, Rajya Sabha MP Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Lok Sabha MP Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra, MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur, former MLAs Jathedar Ujaagar Singh Wadali and Mr Sarabjeet Singh Makkar, President of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee Jathedar Avtar Singh, President of DSGMC Mr Manjeet Singh GK, General Secretary of DSGMC Mr Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Dr S Karunaraju and Deputy Commissioner Mr. Karnesh Sharma.