Resolve Sutlej-Yamuna Canal Link Dispute: Supreme Court tells Centre

Read Time: 04 minutes


Haryana Government submitted before Court today that no settlement could be reached until and unless the Punjab Government showed intention to move forward.

The Supreme Court today urged the Union Government to play a proactive role in resolving the dispute between the States of Punjab and Haryana and find a workable solution in relation to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal link dispute.

Despite the Court directing Punjab twice to build the SYL canal since its judgment in 2002, the dispute between the two states continues to this date.

A three-judge bench comprising Justices SK Kaul, Ahsanuddin Amanullah, and Aravind Kumar while considering that the States have reached an impasse on the settlement talks, has asked the Attorney General for India, R. Venkataramani that UoI shlould act as final arbiter.

"Why don't you play a more active role than being a silent spectator in the background", the bench has opined.

To this, the AG responded saying that a formal river water dispute application was to be made if the Union had to act as an arbiter. He further informed the Court that despite the Union's efforts, the talks between the two States were not going anywhere.

"We call upon the States to hold meetings more frequently and at the highest political dispensation level so that there is some progress in the discussion", the bench has further observed.

The Haryana government had recently informed the Top Court that bilateral talks with Punjab had failed to yield any meaningful outcome. Accordingly, the court was urged to issue directions that would require the Punjab government to complete the remaining portion of the canal.

The construction of the proposed 211-kilometre-long canal connecting Sutlej and Yamuna was planned in 1966 after the re-organisation of Punjab and later in 1981, a water-sharing agreement was signed between them to reallocate the waters of Ravi and Beas.

While the Haryana government had built 90 kilometres of the canal that fell within its territory, the work in Punjab remains incomplete.

Case Title: State of Haryana Department of Irrigation vs. State of Punjab and Anr.