Describing Punjab as an elder brother of Haryana, the BJP government in the state has asked its Congress counterpart in the neighbouring state to make New Chandigarh as its new capital and leave Chandigarh for it. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who was taking part in a panel discussion on the Tuesday on holistic development of Tricity i.e. Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali, also said that the suggestion to share the revenue of Chandigarh between Punjab and Haryana in 60:40 ratio is inappropriate. He said that “citizens of Chandigarh have first right” on the revenue of the Union Territory.
The discussion also saw the participation of Punjab Governor VP Badnore and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. During the panel discussion, Khattar also proposed a planning board on the pattern of National Capital Region for the development of the Tricity.
He also utilised the opportunity to ask Punjab to cooperate in solving the water issue between both the states. Asking Punjab not to make water sharing issue a prestige one, Khattar said, “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.”
Stating that the remarks made by Amarinder Singh on the issue forced him to raise the issue on this platform, Khattar said, “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 added.
The CM said that Haryana faced serious water crisis than Punjab. He said that more area under the dark zone falls in Haryana than in Punjab. He said that the underground water level has gone down to 1,500 feet.
Khattar informed that he recently wrote a letter Amarinder Singh to help in checking the wasteful flow of Ravi river water to Pakistan by constructing dams and reservoirs. He said that construction of dams and reservoirs will help both the states to address the crisis.
On development of the three city, Khattar said that he has already sent a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh impressing upon him the need to create a statutorily create an empowered and dedicate board on the basis of National Capital Region (NCR) Planning Board. Khattar said that he will also write a letter to Amarinder Singh urging him to set up a Tricity Planning Board for the development of the three cities, especially infrastructure.
However, Singh later issued a statement rejecting Khattar’s proposal to set up a separate board for the development of the three cities. He also said that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and that Haryana should set up its own capital.
“Haryana being a new state, should be assisted to set up its own capital, and Chandigarh… should be given to Punjab,” Singh said.
“The CM took a strong stand on the issue, which Punjab Governor V P S Badnore also endorsed by saying that coordination on the Tricity development related issues was already being done,” he added in the statement.
During 1947 partition , Lahore which served as the capital of Punjab, became a part of Pakistan. The Indian part of Punjab required a new capital. It was then, the Chandigarh was set up to serve as the capital of Punjab. But in 1996, when Haryana was bifurcated from Punjab, the government made Chandigarh — which is located on the border of the two states, as the joint capital of both the states.