Chandigarh March 17--The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Lal, has returned the cheque sent by his counterpart, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, exposed the thoughtlessness and complete disregard of all canons of financial propriety in sending it in the first instance, and asked Mr Badal to stop the hoodlums from filling the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal in Punjab, and restore the status quo ante as it existed on 14th March, 2016.
In a demi-official letter written in response to the DO letter dated March 16, 2016 received from the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Lal expressed the hope that good sense will prevail and the people of Haryana will be given their due and legitimate share in the Ravi Beas waters through the SYL Canal at the earliest. The Chief Minister said that his two-liner on a matter that has serious implications on the lives of millions of Haryanvis “merely discloses a certain decision of your Council of Ministers and your consequent act of enclosing the cheque.”
While referring to Mr Badal’s letter, Mr Manohar Lal said he was looking forward to gracious acceptance of his telephonic request made to Mr Badal earlier in the day that the Punjab Government should proactively stop the completely unlawful acts of filling up of the SYL Canal in Punjab territory that had begun after passage of the Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill despite it not having received the assent of the Governor of Punjab.
“But going through its contents, I could not help wondering at its brutal brevity, total thoughtlessness, and complete disregard of canons of financial propriety”, he stated.
“It does not disclose what exactly was the issue that your Council of Ministers was considering, what information was made available to it or was called by it from the state's bureaucracy or what options were considered and weighed by the Council before the decision was arrived at. Indeed, it does not even disclose the date of the meeting of the Council of Ministers”, the letter stated.
The Chief Minister said that such a decision could not have been taken in pursuance of the said Bill till it is enacted, and, even it gets enacted some day, since it was not a Money Bill, not even a penny could be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of Punjab in its pursuance.
Further, for over three decades now the SYL has been a Central Project for which the Government of India has already reimbursed to both the states the moneys spent in the Punjab portion of the SYL. On this score alone, the drawing out of any money from the Consolidated Fund of Punjab for payment to us is a gross financial irregularity. “Therefore, I am returning the cheque sent by you with the hope that good sense would prevail and the people of Haryana would be given their due and legitimate share in the Ravi Beas waters through the SYL canal at the earliest,” he asserted.
The Chief Minister said that upon a reference by us, the Supreme Court of India has appointed Punjab Chief Secretary and Director General Police as the Court Receivers of the all lands, works and property in the Punjab portion of the SYL. It has also directed them to maintain status quo with regard to these.
Mr Manohar Lal hoped “you would now put an end to the free run of the hoodlums who have felled thousands of trees, destroyed wildlife, flattened the structures and filled up the SYL Canal.” He also suggested that strict action be initiated against the officers and officials who were mute spectators and silent collaborators in this brazen display of utter lawlessness.
“I will be delighted to receive a communication that status quo ante as it existed on 14th March, 2016 has been restored in respect of the Punjab portion of the lifeline of Haryana viz the SYL.”, said Mr Manohar Lal.