Badal ‘won’t accept court verdict on water sharing’

Amritsar, Nov 1 (IANS) With assembly elections around the corner, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has upped the ante over the controversy over sharing river waters with neighbouring Haryana.

“My government will not accept the ruling of any court on sharing of river water via Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and Punjab is ready for any sacrifice for this,” Badal said on Tuesday while addressing a state-level event here to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Punjabi Suba.

“I want to use this occasion to state one thing clearly, even if it is taken adversely…even if the highest court decides on this issue (sharing of water), we will not give even a drop of water,” he said in the presence of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP President Amit Shah.

“We are ready for any sacrifice. We will not allow Punjabis to die of hunger,” he stated.

The Supreme Court is seized of the SYL issue and is likely to announce its verdict soon.

The Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, which was to link both rivers in these states, has been a bone of contention for over three decades.

Punjab maintains that it has no water to spare for other states.

Haryana, which has a BJP government since October 2014, is awaiting the Supreme Court verdict on the water sharing issue.

In Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal, of which Badal is the patron, has an alliance government with the BJP since 2007.

Assembly polls in Punjab are likely to be held in January-February next year.