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Badal calls for ratification of Rajiv-Longowal accord by parliament to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab

Protests against extension of central civil services rules on UT employees during zero hour in parliament)

Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) – Former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today called for ratification of the Rajiv-Longowal accord by parliament so that Chandigarh could be transferred to Punjab at the earliest.

The Bathinda MP made this assertion while protesting against the central move to extend central civil services rules on Chandigarh union territory employees during zero hour in parliament. She termed this as another attempt to dilute Punjab’s stake over Chandigarh.

Making her case, Mrs Harsimrat Badal said as per the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966 when united Punjab was divided it was decided that Chandigarh would be the temporary capital of Punjab and Haryana. “It was also decided that Punjab and Haryana would have 60:40 share in posting of employees in the union territory. There was no provision of creation of any other cadre for recruitment in Chandigarh”.

Mrs Badal said over a period of time this principle was diluted and separate cadres created and employees from other union territories were also posted in Chandigarh in the civil and police services. “Application of central services rules which have been applied to Chandigarh on the pattern of other UT is another attempt to weaken Punjab’s claim to Chandigarh. This is also against the Rajiv – Longowal accord and is aimed at snatching Punjab’s capital from the State”.

Asserting that the Rajiv – Longowal accord stipulated that Chandigarh would be transferred to Punjab in 1986, Mrs Badal said not doing so was also a violation of the principle of federalism as transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab was an emotional issue for Punjab and Punjabis. She urged that parliament should ratify the accord to safeguard the rights of Punjab and its people. “Chandigarh is our capital and should be transferred to Punjab”, she asserted.

The Bathinda MP said the recent central decision to extend central services rules to Chandigarh employees would sound the death knell for Punjabi language in the union territory. She said the status of Punjabi had been diluted over the years in the union territory and that it would now become redundant with central rules prevailing in Chandigarh.

She also pointed out that a little earlier the central government had diluted Punjab’s share in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB). She said the management of the board was brought under the centre on the pretext of dam safety. She said the Member, Power in the Board, who was a Punjab government representative, was removed to disturb an arrangement which had been continuing for 56 years.

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