Today, the AAP Punjab Govt presented the budget for the upcoming year, which apparently, they prepared after consultation with the people. Can the CMO clarify which people of Punjab asked for a spending of Rs. 780 crore on a canal to divert its own waters out of the state?
The excuse provided is that of waterlogging, that a lot of food supply area is affected by waterlogging, something that has been talked about even since the Parkash Singh Badal Govt. Recently, concrete canals have been constructed on the Rajasthan side of the border and canals are already flowing between Muktsar Sahib and Faridkot. Which is why the canal was recently dried for further construction. At whose behest is this work continuing while providing excuses to control waterlogging? The waterlogged area was already paved upon. In fact, they are now working on paving the canal from Faridkot to Harike Port where there is no reason to do so.
The Punjab Legislative Assembly and other political entities have been demanding royalties from Rajasthan for the diversion of its water to their state. But Punjab’s own AAP Govt has been avoiding these questions. Is AAP Delhi seriously trying to woo the people of Rajasthan at the expense of the people and state of Punjab?
Under the sections 78, 79 and 80 of the Punjab Reorganization Act of 1966, the Center has already taken away water rights from Punjab in violation of the constitutional riparian laws. The Rajasthan Canal, also known as the Indira Gandhi Canal (since November 2, 1984), was approved by Gulzari Lal Nanda in 1952. The 650 km long canal was first inaugurated by Union Minister Gobind Ballabh Pant. Starting 1958, the river was extended from Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, all the way to Jaisalmer in 1972.
Funds have been earmarked in the budget for securing Rajasthan feeders. It should be opposed.
At present 12000 cusec of this water is flowing. After confirmation, the government wants to give 18000 cusec water to Rajasthan. In addition to this, with the fixing of the bed of the canal, the water does not recharge and the trees on the banks of the canal also dry up. Refrence with Bhagat Puran Singh, Punjab already is moving towards desertification at the rate of 7 km per year.
The Punjab Forest Department had also filed a petition in the court against it, on which the High Court, while taking action, had stayed the fixing of the bed.
So securing this bed from both sides is detrimental to Punjab and should be stopped.
It is sad and shameful to use our own state funds for this and we should oppose it.
The second major issue is that of the Mattewara forests.
Hon'ble Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan Sahib has been visiting Mattewara himself on the issue. The issue has also not escaped the eye of Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema.
The establishment of the industrial park in a flood affected area is also destroying the natural environment of Mattewara. The river Sutlej is rising. All this at a time when the government is talking about cleaning the Budha Nalla on the one side and further extending the constructed area on the other side of the river.
This is not in any way concerning industrial development and progress. This project has affected the research work being carried out by Agricultural Universities of Punjab. Does the Punjab Government feel that the industry is much more important than research and education for the betterment of Punjab?
The National Green Tribunal did not approve the construction of the road because it was supposed to be a double lane toll highway and also affecting the topography of the forest. But now by labeling the proposed industrial park as a source of employment and progress, The Government’s path is setting double standards to work with.
On the one hand, we are witnessing the occupation of panchayat lands. But before any of that, the government should first consider looking at the deserted areas in the focal points of various cities as sites of proposed industrial park developments.
Three points in the budget are worth a serious thought:
1 The government is spending Rs 780 crore to pave the canal for Rajasthan under only the pretext of waterlogging, while being of no good use in any way to Punjab.
2 The government is taking another step towards eradicating Punjab’s forests by announcing a Rs 980 crore for the Mattewara project. This is at a time when it is already worried about the Budha Nalla and is sending Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal as a Rajya Sabha member.
3 More than Rs 500 crore is being spent by the government for home delivery of flour to the needy instead of just giving them wheat. Does the CMO consider the people of Punjab as lazy?
In this regard, the Government is suggested to not limit itself to distributing ground flour, but that it also take the responsibility go going door to door distributing free rotis to the people? ~ Harpreet Singh Kahlon