Supreme Court orders Status Quo on Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal land

Dec 1, 2016 16:03 IST

The Supreme Court on 30 November 2016 ordered status quo on land acquired for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal’s stretch in Punjab.

Moreover, the court also appointed Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary of Punjab and the Director General of Punjab Police as receivers in the dispute between Punjab and Haryana and sought a report from them by 15 December on the present status of land.

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A bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy also made it clear that receivers cannot take over the possession of the land meant for the SYL canal project. They have been appointed only for the purpose of submitting a report on the ground situation.

Background

Earlier in November 2016, a five-judge bench had set aside the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, which unilaterally terminated the 1981 water-sharing pact with Haryana.

Following this, Punjab government denotified the land acquired for the SYL canal project with immediate effect and returned it to the owners free of charge.

The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into force after Haryana was removed out of Punjab in 1966. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was planned and both the states were required to construct their portions in their territory.

Haryana had already constructed the portion of the SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab stopped the construction. In 2004, the Congress government formulated Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.

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