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Current Affairs

SYL Canal dispute

Date: 08 April 2022 Tags: Bills & Laws


A resolution was passed by the Haryana vidhan Sabha to seek completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.



The Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal issue is one of the many disputes between Punjab and Haryana.



  • The issue dates back to 1966 during bifurcation of the two states. The canal will enable the sharing of waters of the rivers Ravi and Beas between the two states.

  • The state of Punjab is opposed to sharing of waters of the two rivers with Haryana citing riparian principles.


Water allotment

  • Before bifurcation of the state, the total waters in Beas and Ravi rivers was estimated to be 15.85 million acre feet (MAF) out of which  8 MAF per year was given to Rajasthan, 7.20 MAF to undivided Punjab and 0.65 MAF to J&K.

  • Post the recent reassessment, total waters was estimated at 17.17 MAF, of which 4.22 MAF was allocated to Punjab, 3.5 MAF to Haryana, and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.


The SYL canal

  • The 214 km long canal was started in 1982, out of which 122 km was to cross Punjab and 92 km in Haryana. 

  • The Akali Dal started an agitation against the construction. An accord was signed in 1985 for a new tribunal to assess the water.


The role in militancy

  • The Khalistani militancy had a role to play in delaying the construction of the canal. Political leaders, engineers, officers and labourers involved in construction were eliminated.

  • Punjab politicians have asked the centre to not start the project as it may give rise to new militancy in the region.


Opposition of Punjab

  • It is estimated that majority of areas of Punjab may become dry by 2029 as groundwater has been over-exploited.

  • The state says that Punjabi farmers have a major role in making the country food secure and it has taken a toll on its water resources.

  • In such a situation, the state says that sharing water with another state is highly impossible.


Haryana’s argument

  • Haryana says that it also has a role in contributing to nation’s food security. By denying canal water, the tribunal’s decision has been violated.

  • The state says that it requires water for its southern part, which has witnessed fall in ground-water levels and there is a shortage for drinking purposes.