Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) MP Prem Singh Chandumajra tells MANEESH CHHIBBER why he raised the issue of Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh in Lok Sabha on Wednesday
Why did you raise the issue of Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh?
Ever since Haryana was carved out of Punjab following the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966, Punjab continues to be without a proper capital. Give me one example of such discrimination against a state for such a long time. I decided to raise it for settlement of Punjab’s rightful control over Chandigarh.
But you alleged discrimination against Punjab?
Yes. I gave an example today. Under the Punjab Re-organisation Act, a formula exists under which Punjab and Haryana are supposed to get jobs in Chandigarh administration in the ratio of 60:40. But according to a recent survey, the share of Punjab has come down to just five per cent employees are from Punjab. Not just this, a new cadre of Chandigarh has been created.
You also demanded that Punjabi be made the official language in Chandigarh?
There’s a logic behind this demand. Over 80 per cent residents of Chandigarh speak Punjabi. But, while English is the official language, Punjabi is not even the second language. How can this be justified?
But, why raise this issue in Parliament since your party is part of the Central government?
This discrimination is there since last 65 years. Now that we have a pro-Punjab government at the Centre, I am hopeful that steps will be taken to end the discrimination. Chandigarh should be given to Punjab and Haryana should be asked to get its own capital.
You also raised the issue of Punjabi youths stuck in Iraq?
Yes. It is a serious issue. Most of these young persons are from Delhi but there is absence of adequate information about them.