SC grants 6 weeks’ time to Punjab, Haryana on SYL canal row

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The Supreme Court today granted six weeks’ time to the Centre to explore the possibility of an amicable solution to the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row between Punjab and Haryana.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that efforts were on to resolve the dispute between the two states and sought some more time.

The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, considered the statement of the Central government and fixed the matter for further hearing on November 8 when the Centre will apprise it of the outcome of the ongoing process to resolve the dispute.

The apex court had on July 11 said that it was obligatory on the part of Punjab and Haryana to respect and execute its orders on the SYL canal issue.

The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct their portions within their territories.

Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to a spate of litigations.

In 2004, the Congress government in the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.

The apex court had first decreed the suit of Haryana in 2002 asking Punjab to honour its commitments with regard to water sharing in the case.

Punjab had challenged the verdict by filing an original suit that was rejected in 2004 by the Supreme Court which asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructural work of the SYL canal project.

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