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Badal to consult Mumbai lawyers on water royalty issue

Chandigarh, July 2 (Calcutta Tube) Having stirred up a controversy by demanding royalty from neighbouring Haryana for river waters flowing from Punjab to Haryana, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Friday left for Mumbai to consult top lawyers.

‘Parkash Singh Badal left for Mumbai this (Friday) afternoon for consultations on the river waters issue with top legal luminaries of the country,’ his Media Advisor Harcharan Bains said here.

The move comes even as Punjab’s political leaders are waiting for an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the issue of sharing water with neighbouring states.

A controversy had arisen between Punjab and Haryana in June after Punjab sought royalty from Haryana for the water supplied by it to Haryana.

Haryana objected to the royalty sought by Punjab. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda questioned the logic for the royalty saying that Punjab is not producing the water for which it is seeking royalty.

Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is the MP from Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, has also stated that Punjab had no justification in demanding royalty from Haryana.

‘If that parameter is adopted, Himachal Pradesh will demand water royalty from Punjab also since rivers flow into Punjab from that state. Likewise, China will start demanding royalty on water from India. Nowhere is this practice adopted,’ Bansal said.

The Punjab government called an all-party meeting of state leaders June 26 to discuss the issue.

The meeting was attended by Parkash Singh Badal, Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Punjab Congress president Mohinder Kaypee, leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Ashwini Sharma, BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu and other leaders.

Badal said after the meeting that leaders of various parties had agreed to meet the prime minister with the demand that the water in Punjab be saved.

‘Our water table is going down. We do not have enough water to share with other states. We will seek intervention of the centre in this regard,’ Badal said.

Punjab, which supplies nearly 50 percent of the foodgrain stock to the national kitty, largely relies on irrigation canals to enable farmers to have enough water for their crops.

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