Water issue: Chautala for emergency session, hits at Punjab
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Last Updated: Monday, June 28, 2010, 22:07
  
Chandigarh: INLD President Om Prakash Chautala on Monday demanded an emergency session of the state assembly on water-sharing issue and hit out at Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal terming as "absurd" his demand for royalty on water flowing from that state.

Addressing a news conference here this evening, Chautala said that in the backdrop of Punjab raking up the water issue, an emergency session of Haryana assembly should be convened.

"Before convening the emergency session of the assembly, the Hooda government should hold an all-party meeting to discuss the issue...As Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab (in 2004) had terminated the inter-state river water agreements act with the neighbouring states, Haryana too should enact a law which will ensure that we get our share of water," he said.

Flaying Badal, the INLD supremo said "I am surprised by Badal's demand for royalty. We (Haryana) are not beggars. We know our right and we are only asking for that".

"I don’t know which foolish fellow advised Badal so that he is asking for royalty. But I want to ask Badal what royalty is he asking for? If states start asking for royalty on flowing water, tomorrow J&K and H.P. and even people of Tibet and China may start asking royalty," he said.

To a question, Chautala said though his family shared "close relations" with the Badals "it does not mean if intrests of my state are in danger, I will not speak out against him. Let me tell you, I would not have tolerated any such a thing from my own father if it was not in the state's interest".

Earlier, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had hit back at Punjab's demand for royalty on water flowing from that state, saying the neighbouring state should instead pay the same as it had been using Haryana's share of water.

Badal had recently said the issue of royalty on Punjab’s waters had already been taken up with the Centre.

Maintaining that Punjab did not have any surplus water to share, Badal had held an all-party meeting here last week on the water issue and said a delegation will soon meet the Prime Minister on this.

In 2004, Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, had been passed unanimously during the previous Congress government in the state, to which SAD, BJP and other parties had given their support.

At present, the Presidential reference relating to the Act is before the Supreme Court and is scheduled to be taken up early next month.

"Whenever elections are round the corner in Punjab (next is due in early 2012), the government there rakes up the water issue. The state unilaterally terminated the river water agreements, taking an unconstitutional step, and now again they have started raking up the issue that they do not have any water," Chautala said.

The INLD leader said Hooda should not have asked Punjab to pay royalty instead but told them in categorical terms that Haryana would take its share of water.

"Our soberness should not be treated as our weakness. We know how to take our share of water," he said. Meanwhile, on the issue of spate of suspected honour killings in Haryana recently, Chautala said as far as his party's stand was concerned, they were against any illegal act and believed that no-one should take law into ones hands.

However, he came to the defence of Khap Panchayats or self-styled caste-based councils, saying these panchayats had been playing their role in the society for centuries now, much even before civilised society was formed and justice was given by judicial courts.

"We are strongly against the same gotra marriages and there is medical and scientific basis for this. This practice is not just true for Haryana alone but in many countries and in many religions such practices are prohibited," he claimed.

To a question, Chautala said while mining had been banned in the state "those close to the corridors of power were indulging in mining activities with impunity, thus resulting in loss of revenue worth hundreds of crores of rupees to the state exchequer".

He also said INLD would hold protest demonstrations on July 1 at various district headquarters to protest the recent hike in prices of petroleum products.

PTI


First Published: Monday, June 28, 2010, 22:07


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