Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Prem Singh Chandumajra. (File Photo)
Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday reiterated that nothing short of the riparian principle would be acceptable as the basis for a solution to the issue of waters of three Punjab rivers - Ravi, Satluj and Beas. It also demanded the deletion of Clause 5 of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004.
Addressing media persons after the all-party meeting called by CM Captain Amarinder Singh, senior Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said, “SAD has made supreme sacrifices and launched major morchas to secure Punjab’s right on the waters of its rivers on the basis of the riparian principles under which non-riparian states like Rajasthan and Haryana had no right on even a single drop...It is unfortunate that in the past, some parties, notably the Congress, opposed the SAD on the issue. But we feel vindicated that finally, all political parties have accepted the correctness and constitutional and legal soundness of the Akali demand.”
The SAD delegation that attended the meeting comprised senior vice president Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Chandumajra and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal.
Bhunder expressed satisfaction over “getting the CM to agree to convene a special session of the Vidhan Sabha to discuss and consider deletion of Clause 5 from the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act.”
“Although the final resolution did not include our demand for deletion of that Clause, we were able to get the other parties to agree to consider it during the special session of Vidhan Sabha,” said a statement issued by SAD.
Chandumajra, however, regretted that the Aam Aadmi Party “did not support the SAD demand for the deletion of this clause.”
He urged the CM to “demand a royalty for the waters” already given from Punjab’s rivers to Haryana and Rajasthan. “They have been using our waters against all constitutional and legal norms, precedents and principles. There are strong precedents supporting Punjab’s demand for royalty from Rajasthan and Haryana,” he said.
Chandumajra said his party presented its case at the all-party meeting through a resolution, which “asks the Punjab government to vigorously pursue the suit filed by former CM Parkash Singh Badal in Supreme Court on the issue. The suit asks the apex court to first settle the question of the constitutional right of any state on the river waters on the basis of the riparian principle before proceeding with the distribution. If no other state has any right on Punjab’ rivers, how can the question of distribution of river waters be even considered?”
The Akali leader said that the SAD-BJP government “had effectively closed the SYL canal issue by returning to the farmers the land acquired earlier by the Punjab government...”