Water issue: Chautala for emergency session, hits at Punjab

INLD President Om Prakash Chautala on Monday demanded an emergency session of the state assembly on water-sharing issue.

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

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.


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