Chandigarh, Jun 2 (IANS): Ahead of the meeting of the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Chief Ministers on the issue of water sharing next week, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Friday said Haryana did not have any right on water from the Ravi-Beas river basin in Himachal Pradesh, being a non-riparian state.
He said Himachal should not part with river waters to a non-riparian state without the consent of the downstream state.
Terming news reports of negotiations having started between Himachal and Haryana to construct a canal to take river waters directly from Himachal to Haryana and a likely meeting to finalise this arrangement on June 5, the SAD President said: "Another conspiracy has been initiated to rob Punjab of its river waters. We will not let it succeed at any cost."
Explaining the entire issue, Badal said: "Himachal and Punjab are joint owners of the river waters being upstream and downstream states. The upstream state cannot transfer water out of the watershed without due consideration of the rights of the downstream state."
Considering these facts, he requested Himachal Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu not to enter into any negotiation on transfer of river waters from Himachal to Haryana. He said Himachal could not part with any water to a non-riparian state without Punjab's consent.
"Re-opening this issue after the closure of the SYL canal in Punjab by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who returned the land acquired for the canal from farmers will amount to reopening old wounds. These could lead to intense inter-state and inter-people strife which would be detrimental to peace in the region."
Badal also warned Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann not to be caught napping on this most sensitive issue which concerned the lives and livelihoods of the farmers of Punjab.
"Earlier also, the AAP government has been found wanting in standing up against repeated anti-Punjab decisions which have harmed the interests of the state. The Chief Minister must take pro-active steps to ensure this conspiracy does not take off."
Badal also asked the Congress' Punjab unit to clarify its stand on the issue.
"The Congress is fond of taking different stands on the same issue in different states. The Punjab Congress must prevail upon its high command to direct the Himachal Chief Minister not to arrive at any agreement with his Haryana counterpart to divert river waters to the latter state in the same manner in which it opposed the Congress high command moves to support Aam Aadmi Party on the issue of central ordinance to restrict the powers of the Delhi government," Badal added.