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Tit for tat: Haryana Assembly denounces Punjab move on Chandigarh, passes resolution on SYL

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Chandigarh, April 5 (PTI): The Haryana Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution seeking completion of the SYL canal and the transfer of Hindi-speaking areas from Punjab, while denouncing the neighbouring state for staking claim over Chandigarh.

The Haryana government had summoned the one-day assembly session just days after the Punjab House passed a resolution seeking the immediate transfer of the union territory of Chandigarh to the Aam Aadmi Party-run state.

“This House notes with concern the resolution passed in the Legislative Assembly of Punjab on 1 April, 2022 recommending that the matter for transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab be taken up with the Central government,” the Haryana resolution said.

“This is not acceptable to the people of Haryana,” it said, adding that Haryana continued to retain its right to the joint capital of the two states.

It urged the Centre not to take “any steps that would disturb the existing balance and to maintain harmony till all the issues emanating from the reorganisation of Punjab are settled”.

The resolution, moved by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, was adopted unanimously after a three-hour debate.

It was backed across parties, including the ruling BJP’s coalition partner Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), the Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and independent MLAs as they dubbed the Punjab move “unconstitutional”.

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda slammed the Punjab resolution for being “only a political gimmick”.

“Punjab’s role as an elder brother is acceptable, but if it tries to play the role of a big brother, that is not acceptable to us,” the Congress leader said during the discussion.

Punjab has made similar moves in the past as well, seeking control over Chandigarh. And Haryana has harped on Punjab’s reluctance to share the waters of Ravi and Beas through the long-delayed Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal project.

The tit-for-tat resolutions follow a recent row after Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the central service rules would now apply to the employees of the union territory of Chandigarh.

The new AAP government in Punjab saw this as an attempt by the BJP-led Centre to diminish the state’s say in the UT, even though the new ruled gave additional benefits to the employees in Chandigarh.

But like Punjab, the Haryana resolution has raised objections over the recent amendment by the Central government of rules for the appointment of members of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).

It said the right of Haryana to share waters of Ravi and Beas rivers by the construction of the SYL canal is “historically, legally, judicially and constitutionally established over time”.

“Several agreements, accords, tribunal’s findings and judgements of highest judiciary of the nation have all singularly upheld the claim of Haryana to the waters and directed completion of the SYL canal,” the resolution said.

“In defiance and contrary to these directions and agreements, legislations were enacted by Punjab to deny the rightful claims of the state of Haryana,” it said.

The resolution also urged the Centre to ensure that the proportion of Haryana government officials serving in Chandigarh UT continued as envisaged during the reorganisation of Punjab. This is supposed to be 60:40 in favour of Punjab.

The resolution raised again the issue of transfer of Punjab’s Hindi-speaking areas to Haryana.

“The Indira Gandhi agreement, the Rajiv-Longowal accord and the Venkatramiah commission have accepted the claim of Haryana to Hindi speaking areas that fall within the territory of state of Punjab,” it said.

Opposition Congress leaders said their party will support the state government if it decides to meet the President, prime minister and Haryana governor over the issue. “We will unitedly fight for protecting Haryana’s rights,” Hooda said.

But the party has taken contradictory stands in Punjab and Haryana. In the Punjab House just days earlier, Congress MLAs backed the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to that state.

Hooda said the Chandigarh administrator’s post, now held by the Punjab Governor should also be given to Haryana by rotation. Or there should be an independent administrator, he suggested.

Congress leader Raghuvir Singh Kadian said it is time for Haryana to fight a “do-or-die” battle for its rights.

CM Khattar said there was no scope now for sitting together with Punjab for resolving the SYL issue.

Responding to members who said there was no bar by the Supreme Court on the construction of the SYL canal, Khattar said an order on the execution of the apex court’s verdict was needed.

Punjab enacted legislation in 2004 terminating pacts related to sharing of river waters with Haryana and other states. But in 2016, the Supreme Court held the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act unconstitutional.

INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said the BJP-led Haryana government had not made enough efforts on the SYL canal issue.

Haryana’s deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala said Chandigarh was, is and will remain the capital of the state.

Home minister Anil Vij claimed that the Punjab government had moved the resolution on Chandigarh only to divert its people’s attention. “Punjab’s AAP government knows full well that the tall promises they made before the polls can never be fulfilled,” he said.

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The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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