Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday reiterated that Chandigarh belonged to Punjab, while rejecting his Haryana counterpart’s suggestion to set up a Tricity Planning Board for the union territory, Panchkula and Mohali. A government statement said Singh asserted 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,” said the statement.
The Chief Minister, the statement added, asserted that Punjab was possibly the only state in the world without its own capital. “Haryana being a new state, should be assisted to set up its own capital, and Chandigarh… should be given to Punjab,” the statement quoted Singh.
The government statement further said the Chief Minister said there was no question of agreeing to Khattar’s proposal to set up a Tricity Planning Board.
“The CM took a strong stand on the issue, which Punjab Governor V P S Badnore also endorsed by saying that coordination on the Tricity development related issues was already being done,” read the statement.
Both Captain 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 the coordination between the two states and the UT could be enhanced by strengthening his Advisory Council with more people 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 is critical for Punjab, whose groundwater levels are fast depleting,” he said, adding that Haryana had more water despite having only 40 per cent of the total land of the two states.
Amarinder hit out at Akalis stating Punjab was divided by the party for their political gains and that the division had wreaked untold devastation over the state, which was suffering from many problems, including water and drugs, the statement said.
Amarinder also rejected an audience suggestion of Panjab University being made a central university, while simultaneously dismissing Khattar’s offer of contributing to its running. “What will Punjab be left with? Punjab had already suffered in the previous allocation of resources between the two states.. will not give up any more to Haryana.” The Chief Minister was responding to questions at an event here.