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Northern states resolve to jointly tackle water pollution

Northern states resolve to jointly tackle water pollution
The northern states on Friday unanimously agreed to jointly tackle the problem of water pollution as per the guidance of the central pollution control board.

This was decided at a meeting of the Northern Zonal Council (NZC), chaired by Union home minister Rajnath Singh and attended by chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab, deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, several ministers of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.

There are interstate problem of effluents generated from industrial areas as well as from sewage from towns draining in rivers Yamuna and Ghaggar as well as canals of Rajasthan.

In a major step forward, all member states unanimously agreed to jointly tackle the problem of water pollution under the guidance of central pollution control board, an official statement said.

For export promotion of fruits, flowers and vegetables, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has sanctioned projects to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.

The states were urged to try to settle the contentious matters of sharing water and hydro-power amicably through the mediation of the Union ministries of water resources and power. This will help harnessing potential hydel power at very low cost.

The council discussed and deliberated upon 18 issues of common interest among the member states. The major subjects discussed were 'need for fiscal and infrastructural harmony in northern states', joint efforts for export of fruits, flowers and vegetables from the states, sharing of water of various rivers of the region and also hydropower among states.

Controlling pollution in the region by setting up common effluent treatment plants, and treatment, storage and disposal Facility (TSDF) for disposal of hazardous waste, contamination of water in canals of Rajasthan off-taking from Harike barrage and setting up of mini hydel projects on Bhakra main line canal at 27 sites with total 63.75 MW of power in Punjab.

Out of the 18 issues discussed on Friday, seven were resolved in the meeting, the statement said.

Honour past pacts: Khattar to states on water disputes

In the backdrop of river water sharing disputes, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said that agreements arrived at in the past must be honoured by the states. At a meeting of northern states chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here, he complained that Haryana was suffering as Punjab was not releasing the water due to it and voiced concern over excess river water being allowed to flow into Pakistan.

"Since our faith in the Constitution of India is full and unflinching we would never hesitate in taking legal recourse in our determination to safeguard our interests and to protect the rights of the residents of the state," Khatter said. At the same time, the chief minister said his government is willing to work towards an "amicable settlement" of every issue.

Haryana is a water stressed state as against the demand of 36.0 MAF water, the availability of water is only 14.7 MAF, he said at the meeting of Northern Zonal Council (NZC).

"We have to give, out of our own share in the Yamuna waters, extra water to Delhi in compliance of the apex court's orders, even as Punjab is not delivering Haryana's full share of the Ravi-Beas water," he said.
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