Immediately transfer Chandigarh to Punjab: Mann to Centre
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday moved a resolution in the Assembly seeking immediate transfer of Chandigarh to the state while accusing the Centre of trying to upset the balance in the administration of the Union Territory as well as common assets.
CHANDIGARH: The one-day special session comes amid a political row sparked by Union Home Minister Amit Shah's announcement that central service rules will apply to the employees of Chandigarh.
Moving the resolution in the House, Mann asked the Centre to honor the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution and not to take any steps which may disturb the balance of the administration of Chandigarh and that of other common assets "Punjab was reorganized through the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 wherein, the state of Punjab was reorganized into the state of Haryana, Union Territory of Chandigarh and some parts of Punjab were given to the then Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh,'' the resolution stated. ''Since then a balance was maintained in the administration of common assets like Bhakra Beas Management Board, by way of giving management positions in some proportion to the nominees of state of Punjab and state of Haryana. Through many of its recent actions the central government has been trying to upset this balance," it said.
The central government has advertised the posts of members of BBMB to officers of all states and central government, whereas these posts were traditionally filled up by officers from Punjab and Haryana. Similarly, the Chandigarh administration has always been managed by officers of Punjab and Haryana in a ratio of 60:40, the resolution said.
''However, recently the central government has posted officers from outside to Chandigarh and has introduced central civil service rules for employees of Chandigarh administration, which goes completely against the understanding in the past.
''Chandigarh city was created as the capital of Punjab. In all past precedents whenever a state has been divided, the capital remains with the parent state. Punjab, therefore, has been laying its claim for the complete transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab,'' the resolution state.
In the past, this House has passed several resolutions urging the Central government to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab, Mann noted.
''For maintaining harmony and taking the sentiments of people into account, this House once again recommends to the state government to raise the matter with Central government to immediately transfer Chandigarh to Punjab," it said.
''This House also requests the central government to honor the principles of federalism enshrined in our Constitution and not to take any steps which may disturb the balance of the administration of Chandigarh and that of other common assets like BBMB," said the resolution.
Earlier, after the session began, Congress MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh and his son Rana Inder Partap Singh who is an Independent legislator were administered the oath of office. The House was adjourned for 30 minutes after the obituary references.
Union Home Minister Shah's announcement on Sunday last had evoked sharp reactions from the AAP, Congress, and SAD leaders, with many of them saying that this was ''another big blow to the rights of Punjab'' after changes in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) rules.
Shah had said the move will benefit Chandigarh UT employees in a big way as their retirement age will increase from 58 to 60 years and women employees will get childcare leave of two years instead of the current one year.
CM Mann had then said it goes against the Punjab Reorganisation Act and had also said that Punjab will fight for its rightful claim over Chandigarh.
The Centre had earlier changed rules for the selection criteria of BBMB members.
The BBMB, which is a statutory body under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 and manages the water resources of Sutlej and Beas, has a whole-time chairman and two members—a member (irrigation) and a member (power).
According to the convention, the member (power) is always from Punjab, and the member (irrigation) is from Haryana are selected from a panel of senior engineers. But the changes in the rules for selection criteria allowed anyone to apply for these posts.