No surplus water to share with other states: Punjab at NZC meeting

No surplus water to share with other states: Punjab at NZC meeting

Mohali: The Punjab government reiterated on Thursday that the state does not have surplus water to share with others as it took up the cause of the state’s rights at the 20th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council’s (NZC) standing committee here.
The meeting saw the presence of officers from the Inter-State Council Secretariat of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), along with the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and the adviser to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, according to a release issued by the Punjab government.
In his inaugural speech, Punjab Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua batted for cooperative federalism and said such meetings offer the right platform for bringing inter-state matters to the fore and debate upon their solutions.
He made it clear that according to the current state of river waters, Punjab itself is facing a shortage and hence, it does not have extra water to spare for other states.
During the agenda-wise discussions, Principal Secretary, Water Resources, Krishan Kumar said the level of water that was available with Punjab at the time of the river waters agreements has come down drastically.
He further argued that a new tribunal to assess the situation of the Ravi-Beas river waters is the need of the hour, besides pressing for water to Punjab from the Yamuna.
Likewise, the unnatural construction of the Hansi-Butana canal causes 38 villages in Punjab to be flooded. Rooting for the resolution of the Lissara Nallah by Haryana, Kumar also highlighted the importance of mini hydel projects on the Bhakra Main Line, apart from making a strong case for a permanent member from Punjab in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had, on January 4, categorically said the state does not have a single drop of water to share with Haryana.
He had said this after a meeting with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar in the presence of Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in Delhi.
The Sutlej Yamuna Link canal is a contentious issue between Punjab and Haryana.
Punjab has been maintaining that the quantum of water flowing through the Ravi and Beas rivers has come down considerably and therefore, it is seeking a reassessment of the volume of the water.
Haryana has been seeking the completion of the canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) water. The neighbouring state has also been maintaining that Punjab should comply with the Supreme Court orders of 2002 and 2004 for the completion of the canal.
Meanwhile, the chief secretary also raised the issue of Chandigarh. “These are emotional issues for Punjab and being the parent state, it has full right on its capital, which has been denied to it all along,” he said, adding that Mann has also raised the state’s claims.
Financial Commissioner (Revenue) KAP Sinha pointed out that Chandigarh must go to Punjab as it is the parent state.
Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
Punjab also sought an increase in the number of international flights from the Mohali International Airport and a green signal to domestic flights to start operations from the Ludhiana, Bathinda, Adampur and Pathankot airports.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Anurag Verma pressed for an anti-drone technology to be developed in view of Punjab sharing a 550-km-long international border with Pakistan.
In keeping with the principles of “One Nation, One Family”, there must be a uniform policy concerning buying and selling of land in all the states, the chief secretary said.
Secretary (Environment) Rahul Tiwari raised the issue of pollution in the Ghaggar river.

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