What is the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal?

On December 31, 1981, Three states that is Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan came to an understanding t to share between them the waters of the three rivers Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj. The understanding or the agreement t also talked about the waters would be shared with the states of Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. It was agreed that Punjab would make the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal within the state withinj a time period of two years.
On April 6, 1982, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had made the first dig into the SYL canal at Kapori village. Majority portion of the SYL canal was complete in the 1990 with the project cost of over Rs. 750 cr. But somehow the project did not get over with.



  1. Punjab moves SC over SYL canal

With the rise in terrorism in Punjab, the SYL canal became a debate topic and the politicians started fighitng about the water-sharing . However, the Supreme Court, in January 2002, ordered Punjab to move along with the digging ofr the SYL canal andpaased a judgment by which the canal should be completed within a years time. Punjab sought a review of this order passed. The SC dismissed the review petition on March 2002.

Unabated,the then Punjab Government filed an original suit in the year of 2003 looking forward to get away from its original resposnibilty of conmstructing the SYL Canal.
The SC in its final judgment dated June 4, 2004, declared that the Union government needs to send in an central agency who woluld work on the construction of the canal in Punjab under the watch of a high-powered committee and it ordered Punjab to pass over the land to the central agency.


  1. Punjab assembly passes law scrapping water-sharing agreement

 In 2004, the then Congress government in Punjab made the earier agreement null and void which talked of water-sharing arrangements with the neighbouring states and it declined to give any water to any other states, especially to Haryana. A presidential hearing was sought after the Punjab assembly which one toto passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004, that emphasised that it was negarting all the agreements on water sharing and that no water can be given to Haryana.

When the matter was eventually taken up for hearing by the Suypreme Court, 12 years later, Punjab is going to the polls in 20127 and most political parties agreed to pass the legislation that was aimed at defeating the SC’s decree to make the canal. The new law passed by the Akali-BJP government tries to cancel the land acquation for the SYL canal and return it to farmers if they paid back the compensation.

  1. SC orders to maintain status quo


In a major setback which is seen to Punjab, the Supreme Court on Thursday orderd the maintenance of the status quo on the land which is meant for the SYL canal to remain the same, this came after Haryana putatively put that an attempt has been made to change its use which done by levelling the land.
The apex court, in its interim order, has lead to appointment of the Union home secretary and Punjab’s chief secretary and director general of police (DGP) as the ‘joint receiver’ of the land and otherland meant for the SYL canal until the next date on which the case will be taken up for hearing as on March 31.
The Supreme Court passed the decree on an urgent application moved by the Haryana Govt on filling an application that the Punjab assembly, on March 14 2016 ,had passed a law against the devlopment of the much in news SYL canal. Haryana said that the bill also looked into the transfer of property rights back to the landowners at free cost.
The court decree would affect the transfer of 3,928 acres of land — along a 122-km stretch of the SYL Canal in Punjab — to the farmers from whom it was acquired for the construction of the canal to transport water into the Haryana.


  1. Why is Punjab against the SYL canal?


Punjab states that the SYL share of water to Haryana was based on the 1920 figures and at present the figure presents an all together different picture.
The Punjab Assembly on the date of March 14 passed a resolution terming the (Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004) against the making of the canal stating that “Punjab does not have a single drop of water to spare and there is no debate of our agreeing or implementing any matter which deprives us of our fundamental right under the principle of Riparian State” Punjab chief minister Parkas Singh Badal had stated.



  1. What is Haryana’s argument?

The Haryana claims lies on the theory that it is a water-deficient state and has stated that for long it has been destitute for more than half of its legitimate share of 3.50 MAF which is in surplus in the Ravi-Beas water, which has lead to a reduction in the agriculture production.

The Haryana assembly, prootested to the bill passed by the Punjab assembly on the date of March 14 which was to de-limit the land for the construction of the SYL canal, it stated the move as “one-sided, unconstitutional and ban the force of the Supreme Court, a step only to draw political limelight”.