Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal

Context: The Supreme Court has ordered the government of Punjab to complete the construction of the SYL project.

What is a Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal?

  • Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal running about 121 km in Punjab and 90 km in Haryana aims to provide 3.45 MAF out of 3.5 MAF of Haryana’s average annual share of surplus Ravi-Beas waters (as per 1981 agreement). 
  • It will irrigate an area of 4.46 lakh ha. in Haryana and also benefit Punjab in terms of irrigation to an area of 1.28 lakh ha, and in terms of power, a total of 50 MW of power generation at two power houses.

Brief Background on the Issue

  • The issue dates back to 1966 at the time of reorganisation of Punjab and formation of Haryana. Punjab was opposed to sharing the waters of the two rivers with Haryana, citing riparian principles.
  • In 2020, the Supreme Court (SC) asked the Central Government to mediate between CMs of Punjab and Haryana to find an amicable solution to SYL Canal dispute.
  • In 2023, Centre told SC that talks between the two states have failed as Punjab refused to construct its part of the canal.
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About Satluj River

  • The Satluj originates in the ‘Rakshas tal’ near Mansarovar at an altitude of 4,555 m in Tibet where it is known as Langchen Khambab. 
  • It flows almost parallel to the Indus for about 400 km before entering India, and comes out of a gorge at Rupar. 
  • It passes through the Shipki La on the Himalayan ranges and enters the Punjab plains. 
  • It is an antecedent river. It is a very important tributary as it feeds the canal system of the Bhakra Nangal project.

About Ravi River

  • The Ravi is another important tributary of the Indus. 
  • It rises west of the Rohtang pass in the Kullu hills of Himachal Pradesh and flows through the Chamba valley of the state. 
  • Before entering Pakistan and joining the Chenab near Sarai Sidhu, it drains the area lying between the southeastern part of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges.

About Beas River

  • The Beas is another important tributary of the Indus, originating from the Beas Kund near the Rohtang Pass at an elevation of 4,000 m above the mean sea level.
  • The river flows through the Kullu valley and forms gorges at Kati and Largi in the Dhauladhar range. 
  • It enters the Punjab plains where it meets the Satluj near Harike.

About Yamuna River

  • It is the western most and the longest tributary of the Ganga, and has its source in the Yamunotri glacier on the western slopes of Bandarpunch range
  • It joins the Ganga at Prayag (Allahabad). 
  • It is joined by the Chambal, the Sind, the Betwa and the Ken on its right bank which originates from the Peninsular plateau while the Hindan, the Rind, the Sengar, the Varuna, etc. join it on its left bank. 
  • Much of its water feeds the western and eastern Yamuna and the Agra canals for irrigation purposes.

Prelims PYQ 2021: With reference to the Indus river system, of the following four rivers, three of them pour into one of them which joins the Indus directly. Among the following, which one is such a river that joins the Indus direct?

(a) Chenab

(b) Jhelum

(c) Ravi

(d) Sutlej

Answer: (d)

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