CM Bhagwant Mann at NZC Meet, Says ‘Punjab’s Water Resources Exhausted, No Water to Share’

CM Bhagwant Mann

CM Bhagwant Mann: The Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal building, a sensitive topic between Punjab and Haryana, was fiercely opposed by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday, claiming it could result in significant law and order problems. Mann also called for the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Key Concerns and Demands at Northern Zonal Council Meeting

CM Mann spoke out against the proposal to affiliate Haryana colleges with Panjab University, the imposition of a water cess on hydropower projects by the government of Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan’s demand to join the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) during the 31st Northern Zonal Council meeting here. The CM demanded the prosecution of illicit travel agencies, the creation of a centre of excellence to combat drone threats, the rapid establishment of a regional NSG facility in Pathankot, and revision of flood relief standards.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Push for Chandigarh’s Transfer from Union Territory to Punjab

Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the 31st NZC meeting. The NZC is made up of the union territories of Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh. The CM stated that Chandigarh was formally moved from Shimla to Chandigarh on September 21, 1953 as part of his argument for giving Chandigarh to the state of Punjab. The city of Chandigarh, however, was designated a Union Territory under the terms of the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966 at the time of the state’s bifurcation in 1966, Mann said. This status quo has persisted ever since, and Mann claimed it is a grave injustice to the residents of the state.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Call for Chandigarh’s Repatriation and SYL Canal Issue

“Chandigarh was formed as a new Capital of Punjab over the land acquired in the state of Punjab,” he asserted. Although the demand for Chandigarh’s repatriation to Punjab has been discussed at numerous venues, according to Mann, it has not yet been met. The capitals of Punjab and Haryana share Chandigarh. Regarding the SYL issue, Mann maintained that the project should now be thought of as Yamuna-Sutlej Link since the state has no surplus water to share with any other state. Sharing “even a single drop of water from it” is not an option since the Sutlej River has already dried up. He suggested that Punjab could instead receive water from the Ganga and Yamuna through the Sutlej river.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Concerns on SYL Canal and Water Distribution

According to him, in addition to Haryana and Rajasthan, the SYL canal is a very sensitive subject in Punjab, and its construction would likely cause severe law and order problems that could have an impact on the entire nation. Mann argued that Punjab lacks excess water to share with Haryana and that the supply of water needs to be reevaluated in accordance with international standards. Mann also called for the establishment of a new tribunal. He claimed that although the state had asked to be included in discussions regarding the distribution of Yamuna waters, its request had not been taken into account because no part of Punjab’s territory is included inside the Yamuna basin.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Argument on Water Sharing and River Basin Claims

According to CM Mann, Punjab is compelled to share the waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers with Haryana even though Haryana is not the state that forms the rivers’ basins. He contended that as Haryana is a successor state to Punjab and receives water from the Ravi-Beas, Punjab should receive water from the Yamuna in a same manner. Mann cited section 7 of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, which states that no state government may impose a fee on another state or its citizens if the basis of the levy is that works for conservation, regulation, or utilisation of water of the inter-state river have been constructed within the state’s borders, in support of his opposition to the water cess levied by Himachal Pradesh on hydro-power projects.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Opposition to Rajasthan’s BBMB Request and Water Utilization Plans

Mann vehemently disagreed with Rajasthan’s request to join the BBMB, arguing that it was a body established in accordance with the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, which mainly dealt with the successor states of Punjab and Haryana. The Shanan Power House in Jogindernagar was another problem that Mann brought up, accusing HP of unnecessarily bringing up the transfer of the building on the grounds that the 99-year land lease will expire in 2024.He also argued in favour of exploiting the water flowing into Pakistan from the Ujh and Ravi rivers. According to him, the state had long ago advocated building a barrage across the Ravi just downstream from where it confluences with Ujh at Makaura Pattan, which is just 4 km from the Indo-Pak border, in order to block this water.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Stand on Panjab University and the Punjabi Paid Military Clause

Mann contended that Haryana and Himachal Pradesh cannot claim ownership of the Panjab University because they unilaterally withdrew their institutions from it in 1973 and 1975, established their own universities, and ceased paying the Panjab University completely. According to him, this university has been cultivated by Punjab for 50 years. Mann also emphasised the necessity of changing the Punjabi paid military clause.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s Views on National Security and Water Management

Being a border state, the state is actively participating in the national war on drugs and terrorism, but regrettably, Mann said, if the state needs central paramilitary troops to uphold law and order on behalf of the nation, we are required to pay a heavy charge for it. Mann responded to Rajasthan’s request for the Pong and Bhakra dams to be kept at their full capacity by stating that no flood water from the Sutlej or Beas goes to Haryana, Rajasthan, or any other state, which forced Punjab to bear the full brunt of the damage from the floods in 1988, 2019, and most recently, a month ago.

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