Don't shift water from State list to Concurrent: Badal

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him shelve any proposed plan to transfer subject of water from State list to Concurrent list.

Badal asked the Centre to desist from the "purported" move, saying "what was required at this stage was the resolution of the Inter-State Water issues harmoniously in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle".

Badal also wrote separate letters to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and raised the issue.

Water is a matter of State List in the Constitution.

On July 13, Bansal had said here that, "members ofa Parliamentary Committee have favoured the idea of putting water in the Concurrent List to help the Centre have a greater say in settling inter-state disputes."

Across the party lines the members were almost unanimous on the issue, Bansal had claimed. However, he also added that the Government had so far taken no view over the matter.

Badal pointed out these developments have sent a wave of alarm and anguish in the minds of the people of Punjab who were already aggrieved over the discrimination meted out to them on the issue of river waters.

"It has suddenly vitiated the atmosphere and created avoidable apprehensions in the minds of the Riparian states in general and Punjab in particular," Badal said.

Badal further said that he besides some other chief ministers also highlighted the issue of the Centre "usurping" powers of the states by shifting subjects from the States to the Concurrent List and from the Concurrent to the Union List in the 27th Northern Zonal Council meeting chaired by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The Chief Minister said sharing of river water was a "highly emotive" issue and was one of the root causes of the "tragedy" which Punjab and the rest of the country had to pass through during eighties and nineties.

"The wounds caused by the consistent denial of justice to Punjab on this issue have still not healed," Badal said.

Badal said that the issue had a bearing on the crucial question of Centre-State relations, the rights and the powers of the states and the larger question of federalism which was discussed extensively in the NZC meet at Chandigarh.

Earlier on July 16, Badal had said any attempt to shift water from State List to Concurrent List would lead to "widespread resentment amongst the states".

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