Chandigarh: Three major human rights groups of Punjab namely Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), Lawyers For Human Rights (LFHRI) and Sikhs For Human Rights (SFHR) organised a discussion on Punjab’s water crisis on the 68th International Human Rights Day on Saturday (Dec. 10) at People’s Convention Hall, Sector 36-B, Chandigarh.
While linking up the issue of Punjab’s water crisis with ‘human rights’, the discussion was held on the topic of “Water Crises of Punjab & Solution”.
Starting the discussion Advocate Navkiran Singh said that the issue of discussion was not confined to the issue of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal as Punjab is facing sever water crisis. He said that the level of ground water was depleting with alarming rate.
Historian Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon said that the history of exploitation of Punjab’s river waters reveals that both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) are equally responsible for the loot of Punjab’s natural resources i.e. river waters. He maintained that the position of new parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Apna Punjab Party (APP) was no different than that of traditional parties.
While referring to the section 78, 79 and 80 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon said that no other state in India was subjected to such a situation where the constitutional and legal rights of a state are so blatantly violation. He said that unlike the present Chief Minister of Karnataka the political leaders of Punjab lacks guts to take a strong political stand on the issue of Punjab waters.
Former PCS Pritam Singh Kumedan while speaking on the issue said ” Punjab’s river water is allocated to the non riparian state which is in contravention to the Indian constitution and law. While referring to the provisions of the constitution he argued that the river waters are state subject and the central government can only interfere when there is any inter state river water dispute for which Punjab does not qualifies as a case. He further added that the if the provisions of the constitution are honestly followed the solution will come out of the constitutional framework of India.
Patiala MP Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi said that the issue of Punjab’s river water was deeply connected with the issue of federalism in India. He said that the Shiromani Akali Dal use to represent Punjab on the issue of federal structure but now event this party has allied itself politically with the ruling elite of India and economically with the corporates.
Journalist Jagtar Singh said if the Congress party committed excesses against Punjab the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has betrayed the people of Punjab on this issue. He suggested that the use of advance drip irrigation can be a practical solution of contemporary water crises of Punjab.
During the concluding session of the event the present dignitaries invited to present their suggestions on the issue. The organizers also promised to take up followup session on this issue.
Dal Khalsa chief Harpal Singh Cheema, Advocate Amar Singh Chahal, Akhand Kirtani Jatha leader R. P. Singh, journalist Karamjeet Singh Chandigarh, journalist Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and Advocate Manjinder Pal Kaur also took part in this discussion.