Chandigarh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday expressed hope that the Supreme Court’s directive on the formation of a committee of officers by Punjab and Haryana would lead to a long-term, just and equitable solution to the vexed SYL canal issue in the backdrop of the worsening water situation in his state.
Reacting to the apex court’s order issued on Tuesday, the copy which was received by the state government on Thursday, the Chief Minister said that talks were the only way to resolve the issue, which threatened to plunge Punjab into a major environmental crisis.
It was imperative for all the concerned parties to work together in the interest of the nation to avert a disaster, Amarinder Singh said.
The Chief Minister said that Centre’s intervention, as directed by the Supreme Court, would be critical to facilitate constructive talks between the representatives of the two states in line with the apex court’s order.
The Supreme Court, in its order, said, “We request the Chief Ministers of both the states (Punjab and Haryana) to form a committee of officers and also to ensure that both of them deliberate with the intervention of the Central government at the highest level and if possible work out a solution.”
The order has been passed “without meaning to comment on the merits of the submissions of the rival parties with respect to the excitability of the decree passed by this court (earlier).”
“We hope and trust that functionaries of both the states will rise to the occasion to find out a solution which is in the interest of all and ultimately if this court is required to hear the matter on merits, definitely we will do so,” the apex court further said.
Amarinder Singh said the Punjab government will immediately initiate the process of naming officers for the proposed committee and hoped the Haryana government would also move in the same direction without delay.
Given the criticality of the issue, an early resolution would be in national interest, he added.
The Chief Minister reiterated that Punjab had no problem in sharing water with anyone if it had enough of the vital resource.
Unfortunately, the water situation in the state is critical with ground water levels depleting to shocking levels and threatening to transform Punjab into a desert, he added.
The Chief Minister said that his government’s stand on the issue was based on matters of principle and equity and it was important that whatever solution is found to it is in the best interest of the people of the state.
He expressed hope that an amicable solution would be found soon to the SYL problem keeping the ground realities in view.