Punjab-Haryana dispute over river waters and SYL Canal

Punjab-Haryana dispute over river waters and SYL Canal

News: The Haryana Vidhan Sabha has passed a resolution seeking completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal. The canal once completed, will enable the sharing of river waters of Ravi and Beas between the two states.

Background around the project:
• The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966 threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
• Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
• However, Centre, in 1976, issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
• In a reassessment in 1981, the water flowing down Beas and Ravi was estimated at 17.17 MAF, of which 4.22 MAF was allocated to Punjab, 3.5 MAF to Haryana, and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.
• The Eradi Tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge V BalakrishnaEradi was set up to reassess availability and sharing of water. The Tribunal, in 1987, recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab and Haryana to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.
• In addition, there have been militant issues surrounding the project where engineers, laborer’s involved in the project have been killed by militants.

Punjab’s argument:
• Many areas in Punjab may go dry after 2029.
• The state has already over-exploited its groundwater for irrigation.
• Out of 138 blocks, 109 blocks are ‘over-exploited’, two blocks are ‘critical’, five blocks are ‘semicritical’ and only 22 blocks are ‘safe’

Haryana’s demand:
• It says that providing irrigation is tough for the state and there was a problem of drinking water in southern parts of Haryana, where groundwater has depleted up to 1,700 feet.
• Haryana has been citing its contribution to the central food pool and arguing that it is being denied its rightful share in the water as assessed by a tribunal.

Facts for Prelims:
• Water resources are under the State List
• Article 262 –Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley. It may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint. 

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