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Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal

Topics covered:

  1. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal

 

What to study?

For prelims: Geographical location of SYL canal and associated rivers.

For mains: Dispute over the construction of this canal, concerns and what needs to be done?

 

Context: The recent Supreme Court order asking Punjab, Haryana and Centre to sort out SYL issue amicably, has brought to centre stage the contentious issue of sharing of waters between the two states. 

 

What is the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, and the controversy over it?

  • 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.
  • The Eradi Tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge V Balakrishna Eradi 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.
  • To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.

A tripartite agreement was also negotiated between Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in this regard.

However, following the protests in Punjab, the Punjab Assembly passed The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, terminating its water-sharing agreements, and thus jeopardising the construction of SYL in Punjab.

Why is Haryana’s claim?

Haryana has been staking claim on Ravi-Beas waters through SYL canal on the plea that providing water for irrigation was a tough task for the state. In southern parts, where the underground water had depleted up to 1700 feet, there was a problem of drinking water.

Haryana has been invoking its contribution to the central food bowl and lamenting that justice had been denied to the state by not providing it its rightful share in the water as assessed by a tribunal.

 

Sources: the hindu.