Sat. May 18th, 2024

The Supreme Court has warned the Punjab government to comply with its orders regarding the construction of a canal linking the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. The court reprimanded the Punjab government for ignoring a 21-year-old direction to construct its side of the canal. It also warned the ruling Aam Aadmi Party not to compel the court to issue tough orders. The court directed the central government to oversee talks between Punjab and Haryana on this matter, as Haryana has already completed the construction of its half of the canal. The court also instructed the central government to take over and complete pre-construction land surveys. The Punjab government cited pressure from the opposition and difficulties in acquiring land from farmers as reasons for the delay. The court urged the two states to find a solution and questioned the central government on its actions. Last week, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to oppose the construction of the canal, stating that it may lead to law-and-order issues. Both the Congress and BJP have supported the AAP government’s stance. Congress leader Amarinder Raja Warring stated that Punjab does not have enough water to give away. The BJP’s Punjab chief, Sunil Jakhar, reiterated that Punjab does not have any water to share. The AAP government emphasized that it does not have enough water to spare and called for a reassessment of water availability. The problem dates back to a 1981 water-sharing agreement, and in 2004, the Punjab government passed a law scrapping the agreement. However, the Supreme Court struck down the law in 2016. Punjab returned the land on which the canal was to be constructed to the landowners.

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