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Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal: Timeline of the Controversial Agreement

Police use water cannons to disperse activists protesting over against sharing of a Punjab river water with neighbouring Haryana state through Sutlej Yamuna Link canal. (Reuters)

Police use water cannons to disperse activists protesting over against sharing of a Punjab river water with neighbouring Haryana state through Sutlej Yamuna Link canal. (Reuters)

As Supreme Court on Thursday held as unconstitutional the 2004 law passed by the state to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with Haryana and other neighbouring states, here is a look at the controversial history over the agreement.

As Supreme Court on Thursday  held as unconstitutional the 2004 law passed by the state to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with Haryana and other neighbouring states, here is a look at the controversial history over the agreement.

# The Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement is among Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

# The history of this dispute dates back to Partition. After the formation of India and Pakistan, both the countries signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 hence, settling for the unrestricted use of three rivers —Beas, Ravi and Sutlej.

# After the creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966, problems began to soar up as Punjab opposed to sharing the waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.

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# 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.

# At an inter-state meeting convened by the central government in 1955, the total calculated flow (read water) of the Ravi and Beas — 15.85 million acre feet (MAF) — had been divided among Rajasthan (8 MAF), undivided Punjab (7.20 MAF) and Jammu and Kashmir (0.65 MAF)

# In March 1976, a decade after the Punjab Reorganisation Act was implemented, and even as Punjab continued to protest, the Centre issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 MAF out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.

# On December 31, 1981, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan entered into an agreement to share between them the waters of the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj.

# The agreement also said the waters would be shared wit Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. It was agreed that Punjab would construct the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal in its state within two years.

# On April 6, 1982, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had made the first dig of SYL canal at Kapori village. Major portions of the SYL canal were even completed in the 1990s at a cost of over Rs 750 crore. However, the project never got completed.

# With the rise of terrorism in Punjab, the SYL canal became a sensitive issue and politicians started squabbling about water-sharing .

# However, the Supreme Court, in January 2002, directed Punjab to continue digging for the SYL canal and ordered it to make the canal functional within a year. Punjab sought a review of this order. The SC dismissed the review in March 2002.

first published:November 10, 2016, 17:08 IST