The Haryana Assembly unanimously passed a resolution today against a Punjab Assembly resolution, staking claim over the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The Punjab resolution was the fallout of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent announcement that the Central Service Rules will apply to the employees of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The Union Territory of Chandigarh is the common capital of Punjab and Haryana. Last week, Aam Aadmi Party ruled Punjab summoned a special session and passed a resolution, seeking immediate transfer of the Union Territory of Chandigarh to the state.
“This House notes with concern the resolution passed in the Legislative Assembly of Punjab on 1 April, 2022 recommending that the matter for transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab be taken up with the Central government… This is not acceptable to the people of Haryana,” read the resolution of Haryana assembly, passed unanimously during a special session.
While moving the resolution, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar raised the SYL canal issue and transfer of Hindi-speaking areas to the state. He also raised the issue of Bhakra Beas Management Board.
“We need the SYL, not publicity for SYL,” Mr Khattar said. “The Supreme Court had said that Punjab and Haryana can sit and find a solution. But we say that now there will be no talk with anyone,” he added.
Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was conceptualised and both states were required to build their portions of the canal under the controversial water-sharing agreement of 1981.
Haryana had built its portion of SYL canal in its territory. But Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped work, leading to a spate of litigations.
In 2002, following a petition by Haryana, the Supreme Court asked Punjab to honour its commitment.
But two years later, Punjab’s Congress government came up with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with the intention to end the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers.
Punjab also challenged the Supreme Court verdict which was rejected. The top court then asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructure work of the SYL canal project.