Construction was halted in July 1990 after a chief engineer associated with the building was shot dead by activists.  The channel remained unfinished because of the controversy over the case. In 1999, Haryana filed an appeal with the Supreme Court to request the construction of the canal.  In 2002, the Punjab Supreme Court was able to complete the SYL channel within one year. Punjab objected and requested a review of the rejected court order. In 2004, the Supreme Court instructed the EU government to complete the canal through a central agency. On 7 July 2004, the Central Department of Public Works was responsible for the assumption of pipeline work by the Punjab government. On July 7, 2004, the Punjab Legislative Assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, which lifted all of its river water agreements with neighbouring states. The Indian president then referred the bill to the Supreme Court that same year.
 Shiromani Akali Dal protested against the SYL issue on 12 April 2016 in Ludhiana, accusing party leader Aam Aadmi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his government of “double discourse” and “anti-Punjab attitude”.  On 11 November 2016, all MLAs of the Punjab National Congress resigned in protest at the Supreme Court`s decision that the state`s decision to block the link channel was unconstitutional.  The Aam Aadmi party began a permanent demonstration on the same day in the village of Kapoori, making Shiromani Akali Dal responsible for SYL.  Punjab police deployed the rapid action force in parts of Punjab, sealed the border with Haryana and reinforced patrols on the National Highway-1 on 12 November.  On 13 November, a Congress rally was held in the village of Khuian Sarwar. The chairman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Amarinder Singh, said no drop of water would come out of Punjab, while announcing that a congressional delegation, including deputies and MLa, would meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on the matter.  The delegation met with the President on 17 November and asked him to set up a body to deal with the SYL issue and to order the EU government to examine the realities of the soil and the availability of water in the state before taking action on the advice of the Supreme Court.  Amarinder resigned on 23 November in protest against the subject of Lok Sabha.  A delegation of Punjab government ministers met with the President on 28 November and urged him not to accept advice against shoreline water rights.  Akali Dal organized a rally in Moga on 8 December on this subject.