SYL water issue: Abhay Chautala says Haryana should block borders with Punjab

The INLD leader said they will support the ML Khattar government if it decides to force Punjab over the demand
Last Updated 22 December 2020, 11:49 IST

INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala on Tuesday said Haryana should block its borders with Punjab, stopping the movement of people and goods, till the neighbouring state gives its share of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) water.

The Indian National Lok Dal leader said they will support the ML Khattar government if it decides to force Punjab over the demand.

"Let the government take the decision today. We will support them till the time we do not get our rightful share of water. We will not allow anyone to enter through Haryana's borders with Punjab," Chautala told reporters here.

"We will stop the movement of goods going into that state from here till we get our share of water. Let them make a decision," the Ellenabad MLA said.

He said that over the years, the INLD has been constantly making efforts so that Haryana gets its "rightful share of water".

He recalled that three years ago, his party workers had blocked all entry points to Punjab “to make them realise that if they stop our share of water we will not allow them to enter Haryana”.

Chautala, the younger son of INLD president and former chief minister O P Chautala, said the BJP has been in power for six years in Haryana but it never showed any seriousness on the SYL issue.

He said that amid the protests of farmers against the Centre's new farm laws, the state BJP leadership was raising the SYL issue “to divide the peasants but that is not going to happen. Farmers will make the Centre repeal the agri laws”.

Chautala claimed that some BJP leaders from the state were now enacting a “drama” of staging “upwas” (fast) demonstrations in support of SYL.

"Why did they not think of sitting on 'upwas' all these years even though the Supreme Court had ruled in Haryana's favour on SYL. Now they only want to divert the attention of people. BJP's mindset has always been to create a divide among people and keep the issues to linger on," he said.

"Had the chief minister been so concerned on the water issue, why would he allow his government to scrap Dadupur Nalvi canal project, on which Rs 340 crore had already been spent and which would have been particularly beneficial to help irrigate lands in Ambala, Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar,” the INLD leader said.

He questioned why Haryana BJP president O P Dhankar, who was Agriculture minister in the previous term of the Khattar government, did not show concern on SYL then.

"Earlier, when we used to raise the SYL issue, they would say that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court. But now when the apex court has ruled in our favour, why is this government doing drama of 'upwas'. Governments don't sit on 'upwas', they take decisions,” he said.

Opposing the SYL canal project, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had recently warned that “Punjab will burn” if the state is forced to share water with Haryana.

SYL has been a contentious issue between the two states, with the Punjab portion of the canal still incomplete. The construction began in 1982.

Punjab has been demanding a reassessment of the Ravi-Beas river waters' volume, while Haryana has been seeking completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre-feet (MAF).

Chautala asserted that the party is "solidly behind farmers" fighting against the three laws.

Responding to a question, Chautala said he will not take another minute to resign as a legislative assembly member if farmers make such a demand.

"Chaudhary Devi Lal's blood runs in my veins, I will not take a minute to resign..,” he said.

Asked that couple of Independent MLAs had withdrawn support to the Khattar government while many JJP legislators too had openly come out in support of the farmers, he claimed the coalition government will not last long.

"This 'jugad' (arrangement with MLAs from JJP, Independents supporting it) will not work. Even some of the BJP MLAs are upset with the government…This government will fall like Bansi Lal-led dispensation,” he said.

(Published 22 December 2020, 11:30 IST)

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