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Flawed implementation of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966
If insertion of certain measures in the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966 (Sections 78, 79, 80) violated the sanctity of the Constitution, implementation of the Act impinged upon its own integrity. Various actions, purported to have been taken on the basis of this Act facetiously disregarded its specific provisions, went beyond them and did not accomplish the aims envisaged in the Act as would be clear from the few instances given below.
The Punjab Reorganization Act,1966 dealt with the division of assets and liabilities of the pre-reorganized Punjab State among its successor States. Rajasthan and Delhi are not Punjab’s successor states, nor are they riparian to Punjab rivers. Acting pursuant to the provisions of the Punjab Reorganizations Act,1966, the Central Government vide its notification of 24.03.1976 allotted hefty portion of the Punjab river waters to Rajasthan (8 MAF) and Delhi (0.20 MAF) which are unconcerned with the Punjab Reorganization Act,1966. Waters of the river Yamuna which was riparian to the pre-reorganized Punjab were not reckoned while carrying out apportionment of the Punjab’s river waters among the successor States. Ravi waters were unnecessarily included in the divisible pool. Under the Beas Project, areas now in Haryana were to get 0.90 MAF and the remaining waters were the share of the areas of post-reorganized Punjab State. Haryana was allotted 3.5 MAF and Punjab not exceeding this amount on the basis of 1921-45 flow series. There was no basis for this capricious allocation when the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966 provides for division of assets and liabilities between Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 54.84 and 37.38 (and 7.78 for Chandigarh which was kept out of Punjab to be transferred to it at a later date). What was the rationale of allocating 3.5MAF to Haryana when Punjab’s south- western districts are/were in dire need of water for irrigation. Queer is the urgency of transferring of waters being already used in Punjab to Haryana which entails incalculable loss to Punjab where 9 million acres of irrigated land will be rendered unproductive arid expanse scary to the people sustaining themselves on that land for generations. What is the equity in fixing minimum supply of water to Haryana and let the people of Punjab suffer in view of change in quantum of run-off occurrence of which is an accepted reality? The Central Government was fully aware that Haryana would get water from Yamuna basin which was surplus and its natural gradient facilitated irrigation of Haryana lands, whereas carriage of Punjab river waters to Haryana is against the drainage gradient and entails heftier costs through lift transportation channels. Topographic considerations do not permit flow of Ravi waters to Haryana. It is a misnomer to use the expression allocation of Ravi-Beas waters between Punjab and Haryana. In fact water of river Beas transported to river Satluj through the Beas-Satluj Link has been given to Haryana in utter disregard of Beas Project Reports. The transportation of Beas waters to Haryana involves massive expenditure, loss of water in transit and is an avoidable national loss as the waters of these rivers can much more gainfully and technically more conveniently be carried to Punjab’s arid areas which are potentially much more productive due to their soil composition.
How prudent it is to insist on digging the SYL canal can be easily analysed !