Newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab, Aam Aadmi Party’s Bhagwant Mann has moved a resolution in the Punjab assembly for “immediate transfer” of Chandigarh to the state. The resolution was moved in a 1-day special session of the Punjab Assembly on the 1st of April.
Chandigarh, a Union Territory, serves as the joint capital of Punjab and neighbouring state Haryana since the creation of Haryana state in 1966.
Moving the Resolution, Bhagwant Mann said that Punjab was reorganized through the Punjab Reorganization Act,1966, wherein, the State of Punjab was reorganized into the State of Haryana, Union Territory of Chandigarh, while some parts of Punjab were given to the then Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh.
Since then a balance was maintained in the administration of common assets like the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMS), by way of giving management positions in some proportion to the nominees of the state of Punjab and the state of Haryana, he added.
The move comes days after the Central government’s decision to extend central service rules to government employees in Chandigarh drawing sharp criticism from the Punjab government. Earlier, the Chandigarh employees were under the Punjab service rules. Now, the retirement age for government employees will be 60, instead of 58. Women can also avail maternity leave of 2 years now in line with centre service rules.
While the employees will avail these additional benefits, the politicians from Punjab have criticized it saying the centre is trying to usurp Punjab’s right over Chandigarh by replacing Punjab service rules for Chandigarh.
Punjab and Haryana have been locked in this dispute over Chandigarh for over 5 decades now, with both states staking a claim for the city. Interestingly, even Himachal Pradesh claims some parts of the city.