Apex court allows Centre to hold meeting on SYL issue

Apex court allows Centre to hold meeting on SYL issue

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Centre to hold a meeting of all stakeholders with regard to the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on April 20.

“We do not want to shut the door to an amicable solution... It (the matter) is a question of the execution of a decree passed by this court. It is in the interest of everyone,” a bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said.

The court posted the plea by Haryana for execution of the decree on construction of the canal for consideration on April 27. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, informed the court that a meeting at the highest level has been organised on April 20. “The Union government is trying to find a solution,” he said. “If it is not settled, we will continue to hold the hearing,” the bench said.

The April 20 meeting has been called as Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in a memorandum, raised certain issues on the Ravi and Beas waters with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Issues such as equitable and optimal utilisation of precious resources and measures to facilitate amicable resolution will be discussed.

The Punjab government, represented by senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and R S Suri, had earlier insisted the Centre to play the role of an arbitrator to resolve its dispute with Haryana on constructing the 214-km long canal.

Haryana had pressed for direction to digging of the canal as there have been directions in its favour by the apex court in 2002 and 2004.

In response to Presidential reference, a Constitution Bench had on November 10 held that Punjab could not have taken a unilateral decision to terminate the agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh on sharing of the Ravi-Beas waters. The apex court had subsequently directed for maintaining status quo on properties of the SYL canal.

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