Based on the Supreme Court’s order to conduct a survey of Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, the Punjab government refused to share water with Haryana.
What is the issue of Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal ?
- The Punjab Cabinet, led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, has stated that there is no possibility of constructing the SYL canal as the State does not have any excess water to share with other States.
- The Cabinet has emphasized that Punjab's water availability needs to be reassessed according to international standards. It has been observed that 76.5% of Punjab's blocks (117 out of 153) are over-exploited, where the stage of ground water extraction is more than 100%, while in Haryana, only 61.5% (88 out of 143) are over-exploited.
- The Haryana government claims that the SYL water is crucial for the State's agriculture, and it is the State's right. If this water is made available to Haryana, irrigation on over 10 lakh acres of land in the State will become possible.
Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal Project
There is a 214-kilometer canal in India that connects the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers, and it is commonly referred to as the Satluj Yamuna Link Canal, or SYL for short.
- However, the proposal encountered some issues, leading it to be brought before the Indian Supreme Court.
- Currently, the canal is 85% completed, with the Haryana government finishing its portion by constructing 92 kilometers of the canal on its land.
- The completion of this canal would greatly benefit Haryana, as it would allow them to obtain water from the Ravi-Beas in Punjab.
- The canal's significance lies in its ability to enable both states to share the waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers.
History behind SYL Canal
In 1982, the SYL Canal was inaugurated by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi through a groundbreaking ceremony in Kapoori village, located in Patiala district.
- The issue originated in 1966 when Haryana was formed from the reorganization of Punjab.
- According to riparian principles, Punjab was against sharing the water of the two rivers with Haryana. A 214-kilometer stretch was planned, with 122 kilometers in Punjab and 92 kilometers in Haryana.
- However, the Akalis opposed the construction of the canal and launched an agitation called the Kapoori Morcha.
- In 1985, an agreement was signed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the chief of the Akali Dal, establishing a new tribunal to assess the water.
- The Eradi Tribunal, headed by a Supreme Court Judge, was established to reassess water availability and sharing.
- In 1987, the tribunal recommended that Punjab and Haryana shares be increased to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.
- The Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act in 2004, which terminated its water-sharing agreements and put the construction of SYL in Punjab at risk.
- In 2016, the Supreme Court began hearings on a presidential reference (Article 143) to determine the legality of the 2004 Act. The Court declared that Punjab had violated its promise to share river waters, rendering the act unconstitutional.