Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Tuesday asked the Punjab government “to make New Chandigarh its capital, leave Chandigarh to Haryana, and cooperate in solving the water issue”.
Speaking at a panel discussion on the holistic development of Tricity, that is Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali here, Khattar proposed a planning board on the pattern of National Capital Region. Punjab Governor and Administrator of union territory Chandigarh V P Badnore and Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh were also present at the panel discussion.
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“Both Haryana and Punjab should cooperate with each other to resolve various inter-state water issues in the interest of the people of both the states. Punjab should not make it a prestige issue. Issues related to water between states can be solved by dialogue. I did not want to refer to the water issue on this platform as the development of the Tricity is the main focus of today’s (Tuesday) panel discussion, but the remarks made earlier by the Punjab Chief Minister have forced me to comment on this,” Khattar said.
Describing Punjab as an elder brother of Haryana, Khattar said Haryana faced serious water crisis as compared to Punjab. “More area under the dark zone falls in Haryana than in Punjab, and at some places, the underground water level has gone down to 1,500 feet.”
Stressing the need for water conservation, the Haryana Chief Minister said he had recently written a letter to his Punjab counterpart to join hands in checking the wasteful flow of Ravi waters to Pakistan by constructing dams and reservoirs to utilise the waters and solve the crisis in both states.
“The issue of Haryana getting its share of river water through Hansi-Butana Canal is also hanging fire since long as a result, the southern districts, especially Mahendergarh, Rewari and Nuh, are facing water scarcity,” he said.
He then reminded about his suggestion on an effective mechanism to ensure development of the Tricity and to resolve its issues. The Haryana Chief Minister had stated on Monday that he has written a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh impressing upon him the need and urgency to create a statutorily empowered and dedicated board or authority for homogeneous development of the Tricity.
“I would also write a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister in this regard. A Tricity Planning Board should be constituted on the pattern of National Capital Region (NCR) Planning Board for the development of the three cities, especially their infrastructure,” Khattar said Tuesday.
On the suggestion that came up during the discussion for sharing the revenue of Chandigarh between Punjab and Haryana in 60:40 ratio, the Chief Minister said it would not be appropriate to share the revenue of the UT between the states as the citizens of Chandigarh had the first right on it.
Khattar suggested that the civic bodies of the three cities could take up such issues of common interest as waste management and metro connectivity, and also share the cost of such projects.
“The Haryana government constituted Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority about six months ago and a citizen advisory council has also been set up. A similar advisory council comprising people from Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali should be constituted to give suggestions for the development of the Tricity,” he added.
The Chief Minister further said Panjab University is a prestigious institution and that Haryana has request to be a partner in the varsity. Earlier also, Haryana had become a partner in the university.
On the issue of smart cities, Khattar said one of the major obstacles dogging the path of progress of Panchkula was lack of proper connectivity with Chandigarh. A huge railway under bridge connecting Chandigarh with Panchkula is proposed to be constructed, after which a major portion of the traffic of the UT could be shifted to Panchkula, he said.