Will not accept court verdict on river waters: Badal

Amritsar, Nov 1 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday categorically said that his government and state will not accept the verdict of even the highest court on the issue of sharing river waters with neighbouring Haryana and Punjab was ready for “any sacrifice” on this issue.

Without mincing words, he demanded that the “injustice” done to Punjab over the decades on issues like river waters, denial of Chandigarh as the state’s capital and transfer of Punjabi speaking areas from Haryana, should be undone.

“I urge you to deliver prompt justice rather than making any favour to us,” Badal said while sharing the stage with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Punjabi Suba.

“Neither Punjab nor Punjabis would accept any verdict against state’s interest on river waters and were ever ready to make any sacrifice to safeguard the legitimate share of river waters,” he asserted.

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

The Supreme Court is seized of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal issue and is likely to announce its verdict soon.

The SYL, 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 apex 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.

“Successive Congress governments at the centre have subjected our state and its people to sheer exploitation by denying its rightful share in river waters,” Badal pointed out while seeking personal attention of Jaitley and Shah.

“Inter-state issues, including denial of capital to Punjab, transfer of Punjabi speaking areas and resolving river water issues within the ambit internationally accepted riparian principle were hanging in fire since long due to apathetic attitude of the Congress governments at centre,” he said.

Badal said that 80 per cent of contribution for the country’s freedom struggle came from Punjabis but the state continues to suffer apathy. He added that Punjab made the maximum contribution through food grains for the country.