Strongly presenting the case of Punjab before the Central government on the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday said the state does not have even a single drop of water to share with Haryana.
"More than 78 per cent of our 150 blocks are in extreme dark zone due to depletion of groundwater table, so Punjab can't afford to share its water with any other state," said the Chief Minister after a meeting with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khatar in the presence of Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The Chief Minister said at a time when this anti-Punjab agreement for the canal was inked, the state was getting 18.56 MAF of water which has now been reduced to 12.63 MAF. He said now "we don't have any surplus water to share with any state".
Mann said Haryana is currently getting 14.10 MAF of water from the Satluj, Yamuna and other rivulets, whereas Punjab is getting only 12.63 MAF. Batting for changing the nomenclature and proposal of the project, the Chief Minister said that instead of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, the project should be now conceived as Yamuna Satluj Link (YSL).
He said the Satluj river has already dried up and there is no question of sharing even a single drop of water from it. Rather, Mann said that water from the Ganga and Yamuna rivers should be supplied to Punjab through the Satluj river.
The Chief Minister said this is the only viable alternative which can be considered in wake of the alarming situation of water scarcity in the state. He said despite being smaller in area, Haryana is getting more water than Punjab and ironically it is demanding more water at the cost of Punjab.
In wake of this fact, Mann said how can "we give water to Haryana if our own fields are starving for it". The Chief Minister said the state has a centuries-old canal system due to which the district even at the centre of the state falls on the tail end of canal water.
He bemoaned that the Union government has not issued even a single penny for the rejuvenation of the canal system due to which farmers are suffering. There are 14 lakh tubewells in the state which are pumping water regularly to fulfill the irrigation needs of the state and make the country self-sufficient in food production.
The Chief Minister said it is ironic that due to availability of surplus water, Haryana is today encouraging the sowing of paddy in its districts. However, he said that on the other hand Punjab, which is battling for saving water, is appealing to the farmers to adopt less water guzzling crops.
Though farmers of the state have made the country self-reliant by producing record paddy but they have over exploited the only available natural resource of state in terms of water.
The Chief Minister said in all water agreements across the globe a clause is mentioned that the agreement will be reviewed after 25 years in wake of climate changes. However, he said that the SYL agreement is the only exception in which no such clause has been mentioned.
Mann said this is the gross injustice which had taken place with Punjab, adding the then government at the Centre and leadership of Punjab was responsible for this sin. Training his guns against the Congress and Akalis, the Chief Minister said both these parties were partners in crime against Punjab.
He said these parties have connived with each other to hatch conspiracy against Punjab and Punjabis. Mann said as Chief Minister and Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal had allowed survey of the canal to appease his friend and Haryana leader Devi Lal.
Similarly, the Chief Minister said the scion of Patiala royal family and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who was Member of Parliament at that time, had welcomed the then Prime Minister for ground breaking of this sinister move.
He said since the survey till now, every step of these leaders speaks volumes of their treachery against Punjab and its people. Mann said it is ironic that those people who had hailed this decision are now offering unsolicited advice to him.
The Chief Minister said that these leaders have sown thorns before Punjab and its younger generations by indulging in this unpardonable crime. He said for the sake of their vested interests these selfish political leaders have prepared distress for the state.
Mann said the hands of these leaders are drenched with this crime against the state and history will never forgive them for backstabbing Punjab. The Chief Minister said the state government will defend the interests of the state well before the apex court too.
He said no stone will be left unturned for safeguarding the rights of the state. Mann said Haryana was the younger brother of the state but Punjab has no excess water to share with it.