The decades-long legal dispute between Punjab and Haryana on the sharing of river waters has finally come to an end. The Supreme Court has ended the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004. It declared in its verdict today that Punjab must share water with its neighbor Haryana and it is illegal to bypass the law which has been enacted in the interest of the state.
What is the issue?
The issue goes back to the creation of the state of Haryana. After Partition, a dispute arose between India and Pakistan on the sharing of water from the rivers of Punjab: Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej. The two countries signed the Indus Water Treaty in 1960, under which both were allowed unrestricted use of three rivers each. India was allocated the eastern rivers – Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi. Once this treaty was signed, the water from these three rivers was shared between Punjab, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir. Punjab was reorganized in 1966, and the state of Haryana was established. As a successor state, Haryana was eligible to receive a share of Punjab’s river waters. The river Yamuna – whose course took it through undivided Punjab but now flowed only in Haryana – was never considered a part of this arrangement. This led to contention between Punjab and Haryana and in 1979, Haryana approached the Supreme court to implement the allocation. and Punjab filed a civil suit as a challenge to the agreement.
The construction of the canal that would carry water from Punjab to Haryana was dropped.
With the judgment passed today, the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 becomes invalid. The agreement through which Punjab had terminated its pacts with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh for sharing the water of Ravi and Beas rivers was struck down by the Supreme Court today.
The Bench headed by Justice Anil R Dave said that the 2004 act was in violation of the apex court judgments, the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, and other Constitutional provisions. A five-judge constitution bench said that Punjab cannot unilaterally wriggle out of an agreement involving other states.The court also said that the Sutlej Yamuna Canal or SYL canal, proposed for water-sharing between Punjab and Haryana, has to be completed. Owing to this decision, the Supreme Court has also rejected Haryana’s plea for extending the status quo order passed on March 17, 2016. The plea mentioned that Punjab did not notify the state about the law meant for returning about 4,000 acres of land acquired for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link SYL canal.
The farmers of Haryana says that they are elated to hear about the decision of the court, and now they will be able to grow vegetables, which are more profitable, throughout the year.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.