Chandigarh, July 28, 2020: PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar on Tuesday said Punjab’s first responsibility was towards its own people, particularly its farmers, and it was unfortunately not in a position to share its limited water resource with other states.
Reacting to Haryana BJP unit president OP Dhankar’s statement on the Supreme Court’s latest directions in the SYL case, Jakhar said political will could not supersede the interest of Punjab’s people. The Congress government led by Captain Amarinder Singh had never shirked its humanitarian responsibility but the acute water crisis faced by the state prevented it from sharing its water resources with any other state, he added.
On Dhankar’s remarks that Punjab owed it to Haryana’s farmers to give them their due, the Punjab Congress president said as per the riparian principle, it was Punjab and its farmers who had the first right to the waters of the rivers flowing through the state. Any violation of the riparian principle would not only be against the law but also unjust to Punjab’s people, he added.
Pointing out that Captain Amarinder had been repeatedly asking for a fresh assessment of Punjab’s water availability in Beas and Ravi rivers, Jakhar said such a reassessment would make the ground situation clear and would endorse Punjab’s stand on the SYL issue. While the Punjab government had no objections to a negotiated settlement on the issue, as directed by the apex court, any discussion would have to take into account the situation on the ground, he added.
In any case, Jakhar said the ruling BJP in Haryana had got its due share in terms of resources at the time of Punjab’s division in 1966. The Akalis, who were now the alliance partners of the BJP both at the Centre and in Punjab, had then sold out the state’s interests to Haryana to promote their own political interests. Contrary to Dhankar’s claims, Haryana was thus left with no legal right to any of Punjab’s resources, he said, adding that the farmers of the neighboring state could only look for humanitarian support from Punjab, which unfortunately was not in a position to help them out in this matter.