Chandigarh, October 4, 2023: The Supreme Court has directed to the Centre on Wednesday to conduct a survey of land in Punjab for SYL canal, but a law enacted by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 2016, which had vested the ownership rights of the land to the original landowners, will prove to be a roadblock for conducting a survey of the land meant for the construction of the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal, as asked by the Supreme Court today.
According to the report published in The Tribune, in November 2016, the Punjab Cabinet had taken a decision that the land acquired for the SYL canal project stood denotified. After the decision, the then state government had transferred the land, acquired for the construction of the canal, to the original landowners. The decision was taken after the Supreme Court had given opinion that the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004, was invalid.
Though the ownership right of 5,376 acres of land was originally proposed to be vested with the original landowners, about 4,627 acres and one kanal and two marla was de-notified in November 2016.
The remaining land has minors and distributaries from the main canal to irrigate fields in Ropar, Mohali, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib. The then government had used specific provisions in the law to de-notify land acquired for a project, if the project ceased to exist or was delayed indefinitely. The land for SYL was acquired between 1977-1982. The compensation for the land acquired for the project in both Punjab and Haryana was awarded by the Centre.
Interestingly, the Bill also had the provision that “No civil court shall have the jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter arising under or connected with this Act”.
The canal Is proposed to be 214-km long, of which 112-km will be in Punjab.
Earlier, the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana – Bhagwant Mann and Manohar Lal Khattar — held a meeting to discuss the contentious issue, but the two sides had failed to arrive at a consensus. The issue was also discussed at the Northern Zonal Council meeting held at Amritsar last month. Punjab CM Mann had made the stand clear that Punjab had no extra water to spare from the Ravi and Beas and that a fresh survey of the water availability was required.
-The Tribune reported.