Water-related issues will take center stage at the upcoming Northern Zonal Council (NZC) meeting in Amritsar on September 26. Issues such as the levy of water cess by Himachal Pradesh on hydro-power projects, maintenance of reservoir levels in Bhakra and Pong dams, and the release of the Ravi-Beas waters to Rajasthan will be discussed.
For Punjab, the host state of the meeting, the non-cooperation of Rajasthan during a recent water crisis will be a key point of discussion. Punjab officials will highlight the lack of regional cooperation and empathy shown by Rajasthan and Haryana when Punjab faced devastating flash floods in July and August. This will be used by Punjab to argue against providing additional river water to Haryana from the SYL Canal or to Rajasthan via the Gang Canal.
During the flash floods, Rajasthan refused to take the full capacity of water from the Rajasthan feeder, while Haryana hindered assistance to Punjab for flood relief work. These incidents highlight the need for better cooperation among states during times of crisis.
In addition to water-related issues, Punjab will also raise concerns about the allocation of Yamuna waters and the utilization of discharge from the Ujh and Ravi rivers. The state will also propose the establishment of mini hydel projects on the Bhakra main line.
The meeting, chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, will be attended by Chief Ministers of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Delhi, as well as representatives from Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s visit to border areas has been rescheduled in light of the NZC meeting. Punjab will also use the platform to assert its claim on Chandigarh and press for a robust legal framework for purchasing land in neighboring states.
– Tribune News Service