SYL issue

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday hoped for an amicable solution to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue with Haryana after the apex court directed both States to form a panel of officers to look into it.

“The Supreme Court’s directive on the formation of a committee of officers by Punjab and Haryana will lead to a long-term, just and equitable solution to the vexed SYL problem in the backdrop of the worsening water situation in the State,” the chief minister said in a statement here.

The chief minister hoped that an amicable solution would be found keeping the ground realities in view. Reacting to the SC order issued on Tuesday, the chief minister said talks were the only way to resolve the SYL issue, which “threatened to plunge Punjab into a major environmental disaster”. It was imperative for all concerned parties to work together in to avert such a disaster, he said.

The State government received a copy of the apex court order on Thursday.

The chief minister said the Centre’s intervention, as directed by the Supreme Court, would be critical to facilitate constructive talks between the two States in line with the orders.

The Supreme Court in its order had said, “We request the chief ministers of both States to form a committee of officers and to ensure that both of them deliberate with the intervention of the Central government at the highest level and if possible to work out a solution.”

“We hope and trust that functionaries of both States will rise to the occasion to find out a solution, which is in the interest of all,” the apex court said, adding that if required, they would hear the matter on merit.

The Punjab chief minister said the State government would immediately initiate the process of naming officers for the committee and hoped that the Haryana government would do so without delay.

An early resolution would be in the national interest, he stated in an official release here.

The chief minister said Punjab had no problem in sharing water with anyone if it had enough of the vital resource.

Unfortunately, the water situation in the State was critical, with the groundwater depleting to shocking levels and threatening to transform Punjab into a desert, he asserted. He said his government’s stance on the SYL issue was based on a matter of principle and it was important that whatever solution is found, it is in the best interest of the people of the State.