Commentary by Scroll.in
The Haryana government said in a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday that the state will no longer provide water to the national capital because he sided with Punjab in a dispute over a water canal. Haryana Irrigation Minister Om Prakash Dhankar said that Kejriwal had “stood against the interests of the farmers and people” of the state by opposing the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in Punjab “for political reasons”. The Haryana minister also asked the Kejriwal government to build its own canal for Delhi’s water supply, reported CNN-IBN. A large percentage of Delhi’s water supply comes from Haryana.
This comes a day after the Delhi chief minister said he was against the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal as Punjab does not have enough water to share with other states. The Supreme Court had stopped Punjab from returning nearly 4,000 acres of land, which was allocated for the Sutlej-Yamuna Canal, to farmers, NDTV reported. Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is contesting the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab.
The Sutlej-Yamuna Canal is meant to enable Punjab and Haryana to share water, in accordance with a decades-old agreement. So far, 85% of the canal has been constructed in stages at a cost of nearly Rs 700 crore, with Haryana bearing most of it. Punjab returned a cheque for around Rs 190 crore to Haryana on Wednesday, in keeping with the state leaders proclaiming to not allow even a drop of water from River Sutlej to Haryana, violating historic treaties and agreements.