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Q. Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal: Are we heading towards state sponsored anarchy?
Mar 25, 2016 Related to : GS Paper : 1 & 2

Ans :

Introduction -

Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal (SYL) is about 212 Km long canal that connects Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. The construction of canal started in 1982 and about 90% of the canal construction completed in 90’s when construction work was abandoned. This canal was mainly designed to carry Haryana’s share of water. 


Contentious issues -


But in 2004, Punjab assembly unilaterally passed The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act by this Punjab abandoned its upper-riparian responsibility to share water with Haryana through the SYL Canal. Then the matter went to Supreme Court (through Presidential reference) in 2004 and the court recently (2016) directed the Punjab government to maintain the status quo on the land meant for SYL after Haryana alleged that attempts have been made to alter its use by levelling it..


Despite the court direction, Punjab assembly has unanimously resolved that SYL cannot be allowed to built. Further it passed an another bill, Punjab Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill 2016, seeking to return land acquired for the canal’s construction to the original owners free of cost, and thereby completely end the SYL project and deny the Haryana’s share of water. 


Impact -


Though the Governor’s assent has not come for the Bill, but activities like levelling the land, scooping earth and flora along the canal may cause ecological damage. In a federal set up like ours, inter-state water disputes tends to be particularly emotive and thereby amenable to populist politics, particularly when election of state scheduled soon. 


Conclusion -


Though issues related to SYL were sorted out in 70’ and 80’s but actions of Punjab government caused destruction in federal agreement which goes against the spirit of law of land and leads to anarchy sponsored by state. Hence in such emotive cases any such actions must be outrightly condemned.  

   

 


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