Chandigarh: Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday convened an "emergency meeting" after Punjab suffered a serious setback with the Supreme Court holding as "unconstitutional" the 2004 law passed by it to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said that water from Punjab rivers would not be allowed to go out of the state.
“Our main aim is to not let the water go, and we will do anything for that,” said Badal, adding: “As far as legal steps are concerned, our advocate will advise us on what can be legally done.”
"In a nutshell, all I can say is Punjab ka paani nahin jaayega, nahin jaayega, nahin jaayega," added Badal.
Badal further dubbed the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh as MP and his party's MLAs decision to follow the suit in the wake of the Supreme Court's verdict as "mere drama".
Addressing the similar conference, Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal reiterated that the Punjab Council of Ministers have declared that not even a single drop of water from Punjab rivers would be allowed to go out of the state.
“A decision taken at an emergency meeting of Punjab Cabinet said that the Punjab government would not allow SYL to be built at any cost nor a single brick would be allowed to be laid for its construction by any agency,” added Sukhbir Badal.
In a huge setback to the Akali Dal government in poll-bound Punjab, the Supreme Court today thwarted its attempt to wriggle out of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal water sharing pact, saying it cannot "unilaterally" terminate it or legislate to "nullify" the verdict of the highest court.
The apex court responded in "negative" to all the four questions referred to it for the opinion by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on the constitutional validity of the law passed by then Punjab government led by Captain Amarinder Singh to nullify the court verdicts and unilaterally terminating the almost three-dacade old SYL water sharing agreement.
The controversial 1981 water sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.
The Indus Water Treaty, 1960 which was executed between India and Pakistan, later led to inter-state division of water share among states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
Punjab, which was entitled to 7.20 Million Acre Feet (including 1.30 MAF for Pepsu) out of 15.85 MAF of surplus water from Bhakra-Nangal project, was required to give 3.5 MAF water to Haryana from its own share.
For effective allocation of water, SYL canal link was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct its portions in their territory.
Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after initial work, stopped the work leading to a spate of litigations.
In 2004, the Congress government of the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.
(With PTI inputs)