Amrinder Singh

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said he welcomed the Centre’s move to facilitate a meeting between Punjab and Haryana on April 20 on the SYL canal issue.

The central government told the Supreme Court on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for the meeting to resolve the contentious issue of sharing of river waters.

The Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal case is listed before the Supreme Court for April 12 and the latest development will entail deferment of the hearing.

Punjab told the apex court that the new (Congress) government in the state will issue renewed instructions in the matter and hence an adjournment would be necessitated, a state government spokesman said here.

Punjab was represented by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, Advocate General Atul Nanda and senior advocate R.S. Suri, while the Union of India was led by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

Amarinder Singh said in a statement here that he had been seeking the Centre’s intervention to help find an amicable settlement to the SYL issue since Punjab would be deprived of much needed water if the canal was constructed.

On November 10, the Supreme Court had declared Punjab’s action to terminate agreements for the sharing of river waters with neighbouring states as unconstitutional and ordered that the state should allow the canal construction and give SYL water to neighbouring Haryana.

“Punjab does not have surplus water to share with other states. There is a need for a fresh assessment of the quantum of river water actually available with Punjab before taking a final decision in the SYL matter,” Amarinder said.

The Chief Minister said Punjab had been subjected to injustice in water allocation.