Haryana forms panel to review Yamuna water deal


Chandigarh : The ruling Congress in Haryana set up an all-party committee Wednesday to review the Yamuna water agreement signed in 1994 under Bhajan Lal’s chief ministership over sharing of river waters with neighbouring states.

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The move is seen as an attempt to corner Bhajan Lal, now a sitting legislator, as the agreement had led to a reduction in the share of Haryana’s water from the Yamuna from 66.66 percent to 47.8 percent.

The 11-member panel set up by assembly speaker Raghubir Singh Kadian will be headed by him and will include members of all political parties in the state. Ironically, Bhajan Lal too is part of the committee.

It will review the document signed by the then chief minister in 1994 for the Renuka and Kishau Dams, suggest terms for the Lakhwar Vyas Dam and also suggest terms for the construction and maintenance of these dams by a central agency on the pattern of the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) to avoid inter-state disputes.

The panel will also analyse the circumstances that led to the signing of the 1994 memorandum of understanding by the then chief minister Bhajan Lal and the discrepancy between cabinet decisions and the signed document.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told reporters Wednesday that this vital issue was neglected all these years.

He also claimed that the central minister for water resources has agreed to Haryana’s request for reduction in the construction period of the Kishau Dam from nine years to six years.

Earlier in the day, independent legislator Radhey Shyam Sharma had demanded that a resolution be brought in the assembly to condemn Bhajan Lal who had signed the Yamuna water agreement in 1994 against the interests of the state.

Another legislator, Shadi Lal Batra, demanded that a criminal case be registered against him.

Besides, Kadian and Bhajan Lal, the committee includes former minister S.S. Surjewala, finance minister Birender Singh and state Congress chief Phool Chand Mullana.

The others are Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator Rekha Rana, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Ram Kumar Gautam, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Sukhbir Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator Arjun Singh, independent legislator Radhey Shyam Sharma and Haryana’s Irrigation Minister Ajay Singh Yadav.

Bhajan Lal, who was pipped to the post of chief minister by Hooda in March 2005 after having led the Congress to a thumping win in the assembly election as state Congress president, is now being put into the dock by the ruling party at every possible opportunity.

Bhajan Lal and his MP son Kuldeep Bishnoi, who has been suspended by the Congress for criticising the Hooda government and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, have already announced a big public rally Dec 2 at Rohtak, the hometown of Hooda.

It is speculated that Bhajan Lal will float a new political party at the rally.