CHANDIGARH: Urging the Centre to be cautious on the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) issue, which had the potential to disturb the nation’s security, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday reiterated the need for a tribunal to make a fresh time-bound assessment of the water availability, even as he sought complete share of water for Punjab from the total resource available, including from river Yamuna.
“You have to look at the issue from the national security perspective. If you decide to go ahead with SYL, Punjab will burn and it will become a national problem, with Haryana and Rajasthan also suffering the impact,” Amarinder told the Centre, during a video conference with Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
Later, in a video message, Amarinder described the meeting as `positive and cordial’ and said the union minister seemed to understand Punjab’s viewpoint.
“Punjab remains at risk from all ends,” said Amarinder, pointing to Pakistan’s continued attempts to foment trouble and to try and revive the separatist movement through the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) organisation. The water issue could further destabilise the state, he warned.
The union minister was of the view that carriers could be constructed and SYL could also be completed and kept ready while discussions on water sharing continue and the final formula could be decided later.
Putting forth Punjab’s stand during the VC, Amarinder said he had taken a concerted decision to terminate all water agreements back in 2004 to save Punjab from burning, amid reports that violence could erupt in the state in protest. The situation had aggravated since then, he said, adding that 109 of the state’s 128 blocks had officially been declared `dark zones’.
Pointing to the melting glaciers, he urged the central government to take the climate change effects into account. The situation was likely to worsen with China constructing dams in their territory, warned Amarinder, adding that this would lead to water shortage even in Satluj river.
“Why would I not agree to give water if we had it,” he said, adding that certain areas of south Haryana were in fact part of the erstwhile Patiala estate and he personally had special love for the region.
Amarinder said it was necessary to set up a tribunal for fair adjudication of the water availability, and pointed out that the water sharing proposed by Eradi Commission was 40 years old, while international norms require a review every 25 years to ascertain the status. He recalled that he had suggested construction of water storage dams in Himachal Pradesh for collecting water so that the flow of water into Pakistan could be checked. He urged the Union minister to consider the suggestion.


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