Construction of SYL canal can bring back militancy: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said today that the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to provide water to neighbouring Haryana can trigger revival of militancy in the state.
"Amarinder rahe na rahe (whether Amarinder is there or not), SYL will become a national problem if the final judgement goes against Punjab," the Chief Minister warned.
Punjab would be "pushed back to its dark days" of terrorism if the SYL resolution does not address the state's concerns, the Chief Minister said, adding that any such negative development could lead to a major crisis.
Amarinder, who was speaking at the launch of a private news channel, said that he had requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to start negotiations on the SYL issue through the water resources department in the interest of peace and stability.
The Chief Minister said that he had also spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
Significantly, BJP-ruled Haryana government has rejected any negotiations on the SYL issue.
Speaking here, Amarinder, pointed out that all extremist movements in the state, including the Khalistani, Naxalite and Mujhaira movements, had started from southern Punjab, which would be the worst affected by the construction of SYL canal.
Blaming the Akalis squarely for plunging the state into this "catastrophic" situation, the chief minister alleged that they had been responsible for depriving Punjab of its natural resources, which were diverted to Himachal Pradesh and Haryana as a result of the state's division.
"Haryana got more water despite having less land, while Punjab did not get any share of water from river Yamuna," he said.
Punjab has no water to nourish and irrigate its own land, leave alone share with other states, Singh said adding that with less than 25 per cent irrigation through surface water, agriculture in the state had become unviable.
Costs of inputs have increased, but there has been no commensurate increase in the MSP of crops, he said, underlining the need for large-scale crop diversification, given the critical water situation in the state.
"We just do not have sufficient water to irrigate water-guzzling paddy," he observed.
Promising to make farming remunerative again for farmers, the Chief Minister said his government was working on initiatives to facilitate diversification and bring in a new green revolution, not just with wheat and paddy but with other crops.
Amarinder recalled the 'farm to fork' project, which he had launched with Reliance during his earlier stint as Chief Minister and said that the present government was reviving the same to alleviate the sufferings of Punjab's farmers.
He was speaking at the launch of India News-Punjab channel of the ITV group.
Amarinder had earlier resigned from the Lok Sabha on the SYL issue. The Supreme Court on November 10 last year held as "unconstitutional" a 2004 law passed by the Punjab assembly which was intended to deny Haryana its share in the river waters through the SYL canal.
Amarinder Singh was the Chief Minister when the Punjab assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004.