Governor Shivraj V Patil Monday said that Punjab has faced discrimination and injustice from the Centre and demanded that Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas be immediately transferred to the state.
Punjabis were denied their legitimate right to have a state formed on the basis of their linguistic identity, Patil said while addressing the members of the 14th Legislative Assembly on the opening day of the budget session.
The Governor,in his hour-long address,expressed concern over the dilution of powers given to the states,sacrificing the federal impulse to create a unitary structure and reducing states to mere beggars at the doors of the Centre.
Noting that Punjab was discriminated against,he said,Our capital city,Chandigarh,too was denied to us. Chandigarh has not been transferred to Punjab even 47 years after it was decided that it would go to the state,he said,while adding that the state was also meted out a grave injustice on the river waters issue.
Punjab seeks no favours; it only demands that its natural and constitutional right on river waters be protected as per the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian principle. In India,Riparian principle has been violated only in the case of Punjab. The government is opposed to any national river water policy that is framed in violation of the Riparian principle, he said.
The Governor,who has political lineage to Congress before assuming the charge of the coveted post,chose to highlight the achievements of the SAD-BJP alliance government in his address.
He,however,changed a sentence written in his prepared text that referred to the chief minister. The written text reads: It is the great fortune of my state that in this great march,it is spearheaded by one of the tallest statesmen of the country in living history and a visionary of iconic stature Shri Parkash Singh Badal.
Instead,the Governor spoke: It is the great fortune of the state that it is spearheaded by the maturest statesman of the country. He did not take the name of the chief minister.
The Governor also avoided using the words my government. It occurred several times in the prepared text but he substituted it with the word the most of the times.
While stating that the state government stands for the establishment of a society based on total gender equality,Governor said that to ensure the safety and dignity of girls and women in Punjab,the government has issued instructions that all cases pertaining to women in the police stations would be handled by women personnel.
He said efforts were on to increase the number of women in police force. A total of 3,233 woman constables have been recruited so far and another 1,200 constables,besides 338 woman sub-inspectors will be recruited in next three years, he said,adding 20 dedicated courts have also been approved for speedy trial of cases related to crime against women in the state.
The Governor said,Punjab stands out as an oasis of peace and communal harmony despite its proximity to the international narco-terror transit zone.
Stating that the central schemes were generally made without any reference to the varied needs of different states and of different regions within the same state,he said Punjab has demanded that the formula for devolution of funds be recast in favour of states. He also demanded that 50 per cent share in revenue collected from states be given to the states.
While former Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh was conspicuous by his absence,new incumbent Partap Singh Bajwa who is an MP from Gurdaspur sat for a brief while in the Governors gallery during the speech.