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What is SYL Canal matter?

Punjab is always in news over the conflict of water and capital Chandigarh with Haryana. Now, Punjabi Singer Siddhu Moosewala song on SYL Canal has attracted the attention of people. 

The SYL canal is a long under-construction canal in India. This SYL canal connects the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. The length of this canal is 214 kilometer. The agreement of SYL Canal was signed in 1981. According to this agreement,  Punjab will share its water with Haryana. But Punjab refused to share it.  So this dispute regarding sharing water emerged.

In order to understand the SYL canal issue in detail we need to know all the history of Punjab. 

Punjab – Complete History 

The name of Punjab has been made of 2 Persian words Panj (five) and ab (rivers). In undivided Punjab total 5 rivers flew. These were Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chinab and Jhelum. But after the Partition of India and Pakistan, Punjab was also divided into two parts – the Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab. In Indian Punjab only 3 Rivers left- 

➔ Satluj 

➔ Beas 

➔ Ravi 

The capital of Punjab was Shimla from 1947-1953. In 1953 Chandigarh became the capital of Punjab. 

State Reorganization Act 1956- 

There was a demand of people to reorganize the states on the language basis. The Central Government in 1953 set up a commission under the chairmanship of Justice Fazal Ali. Other members of this commission were K.M.Panikkar and H.N.Kunzru. 

The main aim of this commission was to give recommendations on whether to divide states on the language basis or not. This commission gave its report in 1955 and on the recommendations of this commission 14 new states and 6 UTs were formed. 

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) wanted a Punjabi speaking state but this commission rejected this demand but PEPSU was merged with Punjab. As a result Punjabi Suba Movement was started. Master Tara Singh and Fateh Singh were the main leaders of the Punjabi Suba Movement.

What was PEPSU ?

Sardar Patel formed the Patiala and East Punjab States Union in 1948 by merging eight princely states. Patiala became the capital of PEPSU. 8 princely states were: 

1. Patiala 

2. Malerkotla 

3. Nalagarh 

4. Kalsia 

5. Faridkot 

6. Jind 

7. Nabha 

8. Kapurthala 

Punjab Reorganization Act 1966- 

The Shah Commission was set up under the chairmanship of Mr. J. C. Shah in 1966. Other members were S. Dutt and M. M. Philip. The Central Government set up this commission to recommend whether to divide Punjab on the basis of language. 

So, on the recommendation of this commission Punjab was divided into three parts. A new state Haryana and a new UT Himachal Pradesh was carved out from Punjab on 1st November 1966. 

Chandigarh was made the common capital of Punjab and Haryana. Punjabis were not happy with this decision. 

Anandpur Sahib Resolution 

Shiromani Akali Dal set up a 12 members committee to lay down demands of Punjab in a formal manner. These demands were adopted in 1973 at Anadpur Sahib which is also known as Anandpur Sahib Resolution. Some of the major demands were as under;

1. The All India Gurdwara Act should be enacted so that control of all Gurdwara comes under the control of the SGPC.

2. Punjabi speaking areas of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh should be transferred to Punjab. 

3. Free access to all the Gurdwaras located outside India. 

4. Transfer of capital Chandigarh to Punjab. 

5. More sovereignty should be given to Punjab. 

6. Reservation for Sikhs in Armed Forces. 

7. Punjabi language should be given the status of second language in the neighboring states. 

8. Water sharing of rivers between states should be according to International law.

9. Remove illiteracy, untouchability, social inequalities and caste discrimination.

10.Protect Sikh minorities residing outside India. 

Rajiv-Longowal Accord 

This agreement was signed between then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi and Harchand Singh Longowal then President of Akali Dal in 1985. Some of the provision of this accord are as under- 

● Implementation of Anandpur Sahib Resolution. 

● Chadigarh will be transferred to Punjab. 

● Hindi speaking areas of Punjab will be transferred to Haryana. 

● Punjab Government had to fulfill the construction of Satluj Yamuna Link Canal by 1986 to share water of Ravi-Beas between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

● Those who were responsible for the 1984 Sikh Riots will be given punishment. 

Some Sikh groups in Punjab were against this accord. Harchand singh Longowal was shot dead.This accord failed to be completed. 

Agreement of SYL Canal (Satluj Yamuna link) 1981- 

syl canal punjab

Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana signed a tripartite agreement in 1981 for sharing the river water of Ravi-Beas. 

In order to implement this Agreement Indian PM Indira Gandhi laid down the foundation stone of SYL canal (Satluj Yamuna Link) at Kapoori village of Patiala in 1982.

Then on 23rd July, 1990 Chief engineer and Superintending engineer were shot dead during the meeting on SYL canal in Chandigarh by Balwinder Singh Jatana and his 3 associates. The construction work of SYL canal stopped. 

Legal Dispute started between Punjan and Haryana- 

➔ In 1995 Haryana filed a case in the Supreme Court against the Punjab Government. 

➔ The Supreme Court in 2004 in its final judgment directed the Union Government to take over the construction work of the canal and give it to the central agency. 

➔ In 2004 Punjab Legislature passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill to repeal the 1981 Agreement but the Governor did not pass the bill. 

➔ Punjab Legislature in 2016 passed a Bill called Punjab Satluj Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Proprietary Rights) Bill in order to return the land acquired from farmers free of any cost for building of SYL Canal. 

➔ In August, 2020 former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar met over the SYL issue but Captain said that if this project carries on not only Punjab will burn but it will become a problem for national security. 

Punjab issue over water share- 

➔ Agriculture is the main occupation of people in Punjab so they needed water for irrigation purposes. 

➔ Punjab is in great threat of Desertification. Punjab Legislature committee predicted that Punjab in next 25 years will be turned into desert. 

➔ Punjab Agriculture University located in Ludhiana found that from 1998 to 2018 the underground water level has decreased from 10 meters to 30 meters in Punjab. 

In short a new tribunal should be set up to review the agreement as the conditions have been changed since 1981.

Also, both the states should focus on Rainwater harvesting as demand for water has increased and will increase in future because the population and agricultural activities are increasing.

What is SYL Canal matter?

The SYL canal is a long under-construction canal in India. This canal connects the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. The length of this canal is 214 kilometer. The agreement of Satluj Yamuna link Canal was signed in 1981. According to this agreement,  Punjab will share its water with Haryana. But Punjab refused to share it.  So this dispute regarding sharing water emerged.

What is PEPSU ?

Sardar Patel formed the Patiala and East Punjab States Union in 1948 by merging eight princely states. Patiala became the capital of PEPSU. 8 princely states were 
1. Patiala 
2. Malerkotla 
3. Nalagarh 
4. Kalsia 
5. Faridkot 
6. Jind 
7. Nabha 
8. Kapurthala 

What is the agreement of Satluj Yamuna link (SYL) Canal 198? 

Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana signed a tripartite agreement in 1981 for sharing the river water of Ravi-Beas. 

In order to implement this Agreement Indian PM Indira Gandhi laid down the foundation stone of Satluj Yamuna Link Canal at Kapoori village of Patiala in 1982.

Then on 23rd July, 1990 Chief engineer and Superintending engineer were shot dead during the meeting on SYL in Chandigarh by Balwinder Singh Jatana and his 3 associates. The construction work of SYL stopped.

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