Punjab, Haryana CMs differ on governance of Chandigarh

Written by Charanjit Ahuja | Chandigarh | Updated: Dec 1 2009, 05:13am hrs
The governance of Chandigarh, capital of Punjab and Haryana has become an issue of discord between their chief ministers.

At present, the Punjab governor is the administrator of Union territory of Chandigarh. However, the Centre has indicated of reverting back to the old system that prevailed before the militancy period and have a chief commissioner, who will be assisted by an advisory board, to administer Chandigarh .

Till the mid 80s, Chandigarh was administered by a chief commissioner, who directly reported to the home ministry. Rise of militancy led to a change and the Punjab governor was given the additional charge of administering over Chandigarh , so that efforts in tackling militancy could be coordinated.

As per the Centres proposal, Punjab governor will not hold the charge of chief administrator of Chandigarh after the present governor of Punjab, S F Rodrigues leaves the post. His term ended on November 16 but he continues in office as the Centre has neither sent a new governor to replace him nor indicated further continuation of the present governor. As per the proposal, the chief commissioner currently advisor to the Punjab governorwill work under the direct control of the home ministry, a pattern prevalent till the mid-1980s.

The Centres move to relieve the Punjab governor of his additional responsibilty as chief administrator of Chandigarh has been opposed by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which has termed it a dangerous move fraught with serious repercussions due to the states proximity to the international border. After all, the decision to give dual charge of Chandigarh to the Punjab governor was taken after serious deliberations at the central level. If the Congress government at the Centre decides to do away with the current system, this is totally unacceptable to the Shiromani Akali Dal. We are totally opposed to it, said Sukhbir Badal, Punjab deputy chief minister and president of the SAD.

On the other hand, Haryana chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda has urged the Centre that administrator of Chandigarh should be in the charge of a chief commissioner or the office of the administrator, UT Chandigarh should be held rotationally by the governor of Punjab and Haryana. Hooda said, charge of Chandigarh should be held by both Punjab and Haryana governors on a rotational basis.

SAD has authorised CM Parkash Singh Badal to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidamabaram to lodge the state governments protest on the issue.