SAD leaders stopped from reaching Punjab CM’s residence to debate on SYL issue


Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) senior leadership and youth volunteers today braved force and water cannons unleashed by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in their bid to approach the latter’s residence to hold a debate on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal as well as other burning issues concerning the State.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal led from the front and also addressed party workers on the road when the party leaders were prevented from approaching the chief minister’s residence. He said it was condemnable that the chief minister had chosen to flee Punjab rather than talk about his betrayal on the SYL canal with the Shiromani Akali Dal. Slogans of ‘bhaj gaya vi bhaj gaya’ echoed on the roads of Chandigarh even as the SAD president was addressing the congregation from atop a vehicle.
Sukhbir Badal said, “The chief minister challenged me to a debate on the SYL which I accepted and even announced that I would come to his residence today to debate all facets of the case. I thought the chief minister will receive us in the same manner in which former CM Parkash Singh Badal used to meet protesters coming to his residence including Bhagwant Mann and the AAP leadership. But he chose to flee to Madhya Pradesh with Arvind Kejriwal rather than facing me and the SAD.”
Asserting that water is a natural resource for Punjab just like coal is for Chhattisgarh and marble for Rajasthan, Badal said “This resource has been taken away from us unilaterally by successive Congress governments from 1955 when half of our river waters were given to Rajasthan and then in 1976 when another half of the remaining water was given to Haryana. He said former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had tried to correct this injustice by filing a case in the apex court challenging Article 78 of the Reorganization Act which bestowed power to the central government to allocate water resources to the new States. “However in 1981, former pm Indira Gandhi prevailed upon Darbara Singh to withdraw this case from the Supreme Court and agree to construction of the SYL canal which was subsequently ceremoniously inaugurated by Indira Gandhi in 1982.”