Punjab will not share river water even if we have to sacrifice our lives
Chandigarh: In an apparent reference to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute with Haryana, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said his state will not share river water, "even if we have to sacrifice our lives".
Winding up the discussion on the governor's address in the ongoing budget session here, he said the state does not have surplus water and, in line with internationally accepted riparian principles, will not allow transfer of water from the basin to non-basin areas.
"We have said that we do not have water," Singh said in the House.
He said those who want water from Punjab are not ready to share the water available with them.
Expressing concern over the depleting groundwater table, the chief minister pointed out that the level of rivers in the state had reduced from 17 million acre feet (MAF) to less than 13 MAF.
"Even if we have to sacrifice our lives, we will not give water to other states," Singh asserted.
He said his government has made every possible effort to achieve this and shall continue to work for protecting the water rights of Punjab to ensure the livelihood of Punjab farmers and landless farm labourers.
Punjab has been demanding reassessment of the water volume of the Ravi-Beas river, while Haryana seeking completion of the SYL canal to get its share of the river water.
The Supreme Court in September last year had given four months to the Centre, Punjab and Haryana to find an amicable solution to the SYL canal issue.
Referring to the various measures taken by his government for saving precious water resources, the chief minister said apart from enactment of the Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Act 2020, the government had also piloted a unique project called 'Pani Bachao, Paisa Kamao', aimed at incentivising farmers to save water and earn money by consuming lesser ground water.
Underlining his government's commitment to transparency in governance and accountability in public services, the chief minister informed the House that his government had decided to enact a new Lokpal legislation, likely to be tabled in the House soon. Coming down heavily on the opposition for "spreading lies", Singh said free electricity would not be withdrawn from the farmers at any cost till his government was in