North Zone Council Meeting: Mann chairs meet; land for Haryana Assembly in Chandigarh not discussed

EVEN as Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann chaired a preparatory meeting of administrative secretaries to discuss the issues concerning Punjab in the upcoming meeting of north zone council (NZC) scheduled on September 26 in Amritsar, the issue of land for separate Vidhan Sabha building being given to Haryana in Chandigarh was not discussed.

As Mann held the meeting on the agenda items already prepared, it is learnt that the issue was not on the list. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief spokesperson had on Friday told The Indian Express that they would take up the issue in the NZC meeting.

The issue holds importance for the state as Chandigarh administration is in the process of allotting a piece of land to Haryana for separate Vidhan Sabha in the Union Territory. The development dilutes Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh as its exclusive capital. After the reorganisation of Punjab, Chandigarh was made an UT and a capital shared by both the parent state and Haryana. Over the decades, Punjab has continued to stake its claim on Chandigarh as its capital. But if Haryana manages to construct its Vidhan Sabha in the city-state then it would be difficult for Punjab to claim it as its sole capital.

Ever since the process of allotment of land to Haryana for Vidhan Sabha started, the state government has been keeping quiet on the issue. The Opposition had hit out at the government in the past.

A source said, “While it was a preliminary meeting on Saturday, the CM may chair another meeting with administrative secretaries an early next week also. But the issue of Haryana Vidhan Sabha was not discussed. It may come up next time. Or may be taken up as table agenda.

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As of today, the emphasis was on the issues related to sharing of water and cess on hydroelectric projects by Himachal Pradesh. These issues will be including proposed sharing of water with Haryana through SYL and with Rajasthan through Bhakra Main Line (BML). The CM was categorical that when both the states had refused to take water during floods, then why should they seek water otherwise.”

The CM is going to take up the issue of affiliation of Haryana colleges with Panjab University in Chandigarh. He had earlier not allowed it to happen. He is going to oppose it, said a source.

“Broadly only inter-state issues would be taken up. As the meeting would be chaired by union home minister Amit Shah, the issue of drones and drugs may also come up. The CM will take a call,” said a source.