The following open letter was penned by Aam Aadmi Party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira to the Punjab Congress President Capt. Amarinder Singh. Khaira has invited Capt. Amarinder Singh to an open debate over the much controversial issue of the Punjab Termination of Waters Agreement Act, 2004, that is currently pending in the Supreme Court of India. If nullified, Punjab would have to start work on the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal, which will provide more waters to Haryana and other neighboring states.
The water issue will remain a key point of debate in the upcoming 2017 elections as Punjab is facing tremendous shortage of water itself. The open letter also explains the controversy behind the issue and is a must read for anyone wanting to gain insight over what the 2004 termination agreement means.
The open letter by Khaira has been translated by Sikh24 and is being shared for the benefit of our readers –
I challenge Captain Amarinder Singh to an open debate over the controversial issue of the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal because the root cause of this issue was former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and not Sri Arvind Kejriwal.
It is a fact that Indira Gandhi unconstitutionally allotted 75 % of Punjab’s water (11.7 out of 15.85 MAF) to non-riparian states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi in 1976 by misusing sections 28 and 80 of the Reorganization of Punjab Act of 1966. In 1978, the Shiromani Akali Dal led Punjab government filed a petition against this this allotment before the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court. But later in the 1980’s, due to the emergency and Congress’s victory in Punjab, the Punjab government was pressured by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to take back the petition.
It was the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who inaugurated the SYL-Canal at village Kapoori of district Ropar. The people of Punjab opposed the construction of the SYL-Canal by organizing a morcha known as the ‘Kapoori Morcha’. Later, this morcha became the Akali Dal led Dharam Yudh Morcha. In fact, Indira Gandhi’s illegal, unconstitutional and biased approach in constructing the SYL-Canal created violence and lawlessness in Punjab. The Akali Dal also didn’t seriously try to sort out the sensitive issue of the SYL-Canal and used the issue as a political tool to fool the masses of Punjab.
There is no doubt that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act of 2004 facilitated by Captain Amarinder Singh’s government stopped the SYL-Canal’s construction for the time being but it’s also true that the Congress Party is the root cause of Punjab’s water problem. The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act of 2004 is not approved of by the President of India and is currently under consideration by the five membered constitutional bench of the Supreme Court.
I hereby challenge PPCC’s head Captain Amarinder Singh to clarify the role of Indira Gandhi in the dispute over Punjab’s water instead of asking Sri Arvind Kejriwal to clarify his stance. I want to know if Captain Amarinder Singh can get Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Sri Rahul Gandhi and the congress unit of Haryana to promise to stop the construction of the SYL-Canal.
I hereby clarify that AAP is committed to defend the waters of Punjab and will not let the construction of the SYL-Canal be completed.
Sukhpal Singh Khehra
Former MLA, Bholath