Published On: Fri, Sep 8th, 2017

SYL row: Supreme Court gives Centre six weeks

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supreme courtNew Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Centre six more weeks to hold negotiations for an amicable settlement to the row between Punjab and Haryana over the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra fixed the matter for hearing on November 8, after Attorney General K K Venugopal said the issue was being taken up with the states. “There is possibility of a settlement,” he submitted, and sought six more weeks as the “Prime Minister was out of the country”.

On the previous date of hearing, the counsel for Punjab had informed the court that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would meet the Chief Ministers of the two states to iron out their differences on the SYL issue. The court had asked the Centre to use its good offices to settle the dispute, and given it two months to talk to the two sides.

In November last year, a five-judge Constitution Bench had set aside the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, under which the state’s 1981 water-sharing pact with Haryana was terminated. The SYL canal was a result of this 1981 agreement.

Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966, and the 1981 pact envisaged effective distribution of water through the SYL canal link. Each state was required to construct parts of the canal which fell in its territory.

Though Haryana did its part, Punjab stopped the work after the initial phase, leading to a spate of litigation cases. In 2004, the then ruling Congress government came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, with the intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts on sharing of waters of the Ravi and Beas. This was set aside by the apex court.

In earlier hearings, the court had pulled up Punjab for non-construction of the canal.

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