Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday (18 August) warned the Centre on the long-pending Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and said that "Punjab will burn" if asked to share water with neighbouring Haryana.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat yesterday held a meeting with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Punjab CM Singh, who joined through video conferencing, News18 reported.
"If you decide to go ahead with SYL, Punjab will burn and it will become a national problem, with Haryana and Rajasthan also suffering the impact," a Punjab government statement said while adding that the issue could destabilise the state giving more room to Pakistan's attempts to revive Khalistan movement.
"You have to look at the issue from the national security perspective," he told Shekhawat.
The meeting was held with central government being a mediator, as directed by the Supreme Court, between the two states to reach a consensus on the completion of the SYL canal which has been hanging for nearly four decades now.
While Punjab remained reluctant on sharing water with Haryana and Rajasthan, Khattar and Singh described the meeting as "cordial" and said they could sit again.
Haryana CM Khattar stated the SYL canal and water sharing were two different issues and "must not be confused".
"We maintained our stand that the SYL should be constructed. The Supreme Court too has said that," he said, while stressing upon the need to finish building the channel immediately so that Haryana could draw its rightful share of water.
The issue has been a contentious one between the two states since the construction began in 1982. While Haryana side of canal is complete, it is still not complete in Punjab.
Union Minister Shekhawat, who mediated between the two states, said the matter could be resolved with discussions. SYL could be constructed while all parties could sit and decide a water sharing formula.
"Punjab and Haryana CMs placed their viewpoints on the issue and we have decided to have another meeting soon," he said.
"At the next meeting, talks will be held from the point where we ended them today and whatever the outcome, we will apprise the Supreme Court about it," he added.
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