Sidhu Moosewala’s latest song SYL creates buzz, starts fresh debate on water sharing between Haryana, Punjab

New Delhi: On the Instagram account of late Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala a flashed that his “new song is coming” soon. Following the development, people were glued to their phone screens for the song. Even hours before the premier of SYL, there were 36 thousand people waiting on his YouTube channel for his first song since his brutal murder. Though it is not known who is running his social media accounts after his death, but a request was made through Moosewala’s account that all his unpublished work must be handed over to his father. It would be his father to take the final call on his works.

A message was put out on his Instagram account that song SYL would be premiered on the evening of June 23, 2022. Within hours of its release, views and likes started pouring in rapidly. The song hit 4 million views in just 3 hours after the premier. So far the song has garnered 2.3 crore views and 31 lakh likes on YouTube. In addition to this, 14 lakh comments have also been posted most of which are in the praise of the late singer and water dispute between both the neighboring states.

The late singer known for his solid understanding of socio-political issues. He had also raked up several social issues through his songs in the past.

The song has reignited a fresh debate on the controversial issue over water sharing between Punjabi and other neighboring states — Haryana, Delhi and Rajsthan. In this article, we have decoded the issues pertaining to SYL and what it means for the people of each states mentioned above.

What is SYL?

SYL stands for Satlej Yamuna Link Canal. Under the project, a canal which was to connect Satlej river water to Yamuna river was proposed. However, this under-construction project off 214 kilometer (133 miles) long canal never came about due to opposition by Punjab’s people. After the partisan of Punjab in 1966 when Haryana was carved out of it, the latter started demanding water. Haryana demanded 4.8 MAF out of Punjab’s total 7.2 MAF share of water from the rivers, whereas Punjab claimed the entire quantity. Haryana reached out to Union government to intervene into the matter as both the states could not resolve this. When the country was under an internal emergency, an executive order was issued by the Union government which allocated 3.5 MAF of water to both the states. Under this proposal Delhi received the remaining 0.2 MAF. In order to make full use of the allocated water, a Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal was proposed.

The construction of the canal was stopped in July 1990 when a Chief Engineer who was supervising the project was killed by Balwinder Singh Jattana. The canal remained incomplete for almost nine years. In 1999, Haryana filed a suit in the Supreme Court of India for the construction. The Supreme Court directed Punjab government to complete the SYL canal in a year. Punjab refused to do so and filed a petition for a review of the court order which was rejected.

In 2004, the Supreme Court of India directed the Union government to complete the project through a central agency. For this purpose, Central Public Works Department was appointed on July 2, 2004 to take over the project work from Punjab government. When the then Punjab government saw these developments unfolding, it passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 abrogating all river water agreements with the neighbor state. The President of India then referred this bill to the Supreme Court in the same year.

The Supreme Court on February 22, 2017 said the Government of Punjab have to abide by its order on construction of SYL canal and it will pass a decree if the governments of both states — Punjab and Haryana fail to come to an agreement. Presenting government of Haryana’s 2017-18 budget in March 2017, Finance Minister of Haryana government announced that Rs 100 crore had been allocated for completion of the canal. Currently, the project is on hold but Haryana has completed 85% of the construction work in its part of the canal. It has completed 92 km of canal in its land.

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