Haryana and Punjab often come face to face with regard to the SYL Sutlej-Yamuna link. Of course, both the states have a brotherly relationship, but when the matter comes to SYL, then there is a situation of conflict. It is natural for the matter to become political with the passage of time. Many governments came to Haryana and Punjab and at the Center but this issue could not be resolved.
For the time being, the issue of SYL has remained as if only for votes. The Supreme Court also ruled in favour of Haryana twice, but elder brother Punjab is not ready to give the right.
Even at times, it was a coincidence that the governments of the same party or allies were formed in Haryana, Punjab and the Center. But the case of SYL remained the same. No one showed interest in resolving the matter.
The manufacturing of SYL was started by Chaudhary Devi Lal in the 70s and 80s. Canal water may not have been very beneficial in terms of votes in subsequent decades, but politicians did not let the issue die. In 1976, the genie of SYL came out again and under the leadership of the then CM Banarsi Das Gupta, Haryana started digging the canal in its share. The canal construction was completed in 1980. Congress got the full benefit of this in the elections and then Chief Minister Bhajan Lal again formed the government.
After this, in 1987, SYL played the main character in giving power to Chaudhary Devi Lal. The Lok Dal and BJP strongly opposed the Rajiv-Longowal agreement regarding the canal. By then Bhajan Lal had moved to the center and Bansilal had taken command. Devi Lal waged a justice war on reducing the water of Haryana’s share in the agreement and on 23 January 1986, Jail Bharo Andolan. As a result, in 1987, Lok Dal and BJP created history by winning 85 out of 90 assembly seats in Haryana.
Where did the SYL controversy start?
- This dispute is not of today but is quite old, in the year 1976, on 24th March, the Central Government, while issuing the notification of SYL, fixed 3.5 metric acre feet of water for Haryana.
- After which the construction of SYL in Haryana was completed on 31 December 1981.
- On 8 April 1982, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi laid the foundation of the canal in Kapuri village of Patiala. The terrorists made it an issue that worsened the situation in Punjab.
- This was followed by the Rajiv-Longowal Agreement on 24 July 1985.
- After this, on November 5, 1985, a resolution was passed in the Punjab Legislative Assembly against the water agreement.
- But on 30 January 1987, the National Water Authority ordered Punjab to immediately complete the canal construction on its share.
- When the matter did not appear to be resolved, Haryana reached the Supreme Court in 1996 regarding the matter.
- After which on 15 January 2002, the Supreme Court directed Punjab to make SYL in one year. Then on June 4, 2004, Punjab’s petition against the Supreme Court’s decision was dismissed.
- In the year 2004, Captain Amarinder Singh’s government in Punjab implemented the ‘Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004’ in the assembly on 12 July. Seeing the federal structure in danger, the President asked for a reference from the Supreme Court, then the matter remained in cold storage for 12 years.
- On 14 March 2016, the Punjab Legislative Assembly passed the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (Transfer of Ownership) Bill, 3,928 acres of land acquired for the canal were returned to the farmers. A total of 5,376 acres of land was acquired for SYL in Punjab, of which 3,928 acres were to be set up by SYL and the rest for distribution. Punjab returned the Haryana government’s check of Rs 191 crore after which the local farmers bridged the canal.
- After this, the Manohar government of Haryana requested the Supreme Court to set up a constitution bench to hear the President’s reference and on November 10, 2016, the court’s decision was in favour of Haryana, but Punjab has not yet started the construction of the canal.
Now know what is the status of SYL?
- The total length of this canal is 212 km. Haryana has built a canal of its share of 91 km and this canal runs from Ambala to Moonak in Karnal.
- After this, 121 km canal was to be built in Punjab, but after construction in pieces, most of the part was again destroyed and 42 km part was levelled by the farmers in Patiala-Ropar.
Which districts of Haryana will get the benefit?
Now if the SYL canal is built, 6 districts of Haryana will mainly get maximum benefit. In which Rewari, Mahendragarh, Mewat, Gurugram, Faridabad and Jhajjar districts are included.