Punjab

Amarinder rejects Khattar's idea of inter-city body for tri-city Chandigarh

July 10, 2018 11:54 PM

Chandigarh, July 10: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday categorically rejected his Haryana counterpart’s suggestion to set up a Tricity Planning Board for Chandigarh and its adjoining cities of Panchkula and Mohali, saying Chandigarh indisputably belonged to Punjab.

Taking a strong stand on the issue, which Punjab Governor VPS Badnore also endorsed by saying that coordination on the Tricity development related issues was already being done, the Chief Minister said there was no question of agreeing to Khattar’s proposal.

The Chief Minister was responding to questions at an event here. Besides Badnore and Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar, Institute for Development & Communication chairman Pramod Kumar shared the dais with Captain Amarinder Singh.

Even as the Governor pointed out that as a land-locked region, Chandigarh did not have any scope for expansion, Captain Amarinder Singh asserted that Punjab, being the only state without a capital, had a historical right over Chandigarh. Various accords in the past had given Chandigarh to Punjab but they were, unfortunately, not implemented, he added.

Asserting that Punjab needed a capital, the Chief Minister pointed out that it was possibly the only state in the world without its own capital. Haryana being a new State, it should be assisted to set up its own capital, and Chandigarh, being the capital of Punjab, should be given to Punjab, he added.

Both Captain Amarinder Singh and Badnore also rejected the suggestion of an NCR-type Greater Chandigarh Metropolitan Region, treating the entire Tricity as the Capital of Punjab and Haryana. Badnore, who is also the Chandigarh UT Administrator, said while there was already coordination between the two states and the UT on certain issues, the same could be enhanced by strengthening his Advisory Council with more people drawn from Mohali and Panchkula.

The Chief Minister asserted that territorial and water issues between Punjab and Haryana would have to be addressed before other matters could be taken up. Water was critical for Punjab, whose ground water levels were fast depleting, he said, adding that Haryana had more water despite having only 40% of the total land of the two states.

Punjab was divided by the Akalis for their political gains, Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out, adding that the division had wreaked untold devastation on Punjab, which was suffering from many problems, including water and drugs, due to this.

Captain Amarinder Singh also rejected an audience suggestion of Punjab University being made a central university, while simultaneously dismissing Khattar’s offer of contributing to its running. “What would Punjab we left with,” he quipped, making it clear that the state, which had already suffered in the previous allocation of resources between the two states, would not give up any more of its resources to Haryana.

The Chief Minister raised the issue of Chandigarh UT (Union Territory) raising its own cadre, thus eroding Punjab’s 60% share in administration. Responding to his concern, the Governor offered to order an audit of the employees in Chandigarh to ensure that the 60:40 ratio between Punjab and Haryana is maintained.

Advocating more cooperation between the two states in areas of mutual interest, the Governor mooted the establishment of an India International Centre like setup in Chandigarh, and said he would seek contribution from both Haryana and Punjab for it.

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