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Resolution on Chandigarh


The longstanding dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh flared up this week after the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory instead of the Punjab Service Rules. The Centre had earlier tweaked rules for appointments to the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) — recruitments can now be done from anywhere in India, instead of just Punjab and Haryana.

  • Recently, the Punjab Assembly in a special session passed a unanimous resolution reiterating the state’s claim on Chandigarh.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. When and how did Chandigarh become the capital of Punjab?
  2. When was Punjab reorganised, and Chandigarh became a Union Territory?
  3. What about a separate capital for Haryana?
  4. What claims on Chandigarh were made subsequently?
  5. Resolutions in the Punjab Assembly over the years
  6. Difference between a state and union territory

When and how did Chandigarh become the capital of Punjab?

  • After Partition, Shimla was made the temporary capital of Indian Punjab.
  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted a modern city to replace Lahore as Punjab’s capital, and the idea of Chandigarh was conceived.
  • In March 1948, the Punjab government, in consultation with the Centre, chose the picturesque foothills of the Shivaliks as the site of the new capital.
    • Twenty-two villages in Kharar were acquired for the city, and the government compensated their displaced residents.
  • The capital was officially moved from Shimla to Chandigarh on September 21, 1953. President Rajendra Prasad inaugurated the new capital on October 7, 1953.
  • Until Haryana was born, Chandigarh remained the capital of Punjab.

When was Punjab reorganised, and Chandigarh became a Union Territory?

  • The Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966 carved out the new state of Haryana from undivided Punjab, created the new Union Territory of Chandigarh under the direct control of the Centre, and transferred the hill territories of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh.
  • Chandigarh, identified as the capital of Punjab in The Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, became the common capital of both Punjab and Haryana, and properties were divided between the states in the ratio 60:40.
  • The States Reorganisation Act, 1966, did not make changes in the arrangement arrived at in 1952.

What about a separate capital for Haryana?

  • During the reorganisation of Punjab, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had announced that Haryana would get its own capital. And on January 29, 1970, the Centre announced that “the capital project area of Chandigarh should, as a whole, go to Punjab”.
  • Indira’s government took this decision after Fateh Singh, leader of the Punjabi Suba movement, threatened self-immolation if Chandigarh was not transferred to Punjab.
  • The Centre had considered dividing Chandigarh into two parts, but ultimately decided against it.
  • Haryana was told to use the office and residential accommodation in Chandigarh for five years until it built its own capital.
  • The Centre offered a Rs 10 crore grant to Haryana and a loan of equal amount to build the new capital.

What claims on Chandigarh were made subsequently?

Dharam Yudh Morcha :

  • In August 1982, the Akali Dal, having expressed dissatisfaction over the Punjab Reorganisation Act, launched the Dharam Yudh Morcha along with Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale with the object of realising the goals of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973.
  • Among the issues in contention were the inclusion of Punjabi speaking areas in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and the fact that Chandigarh had not been given to Punjab, and instead made a UT.

Rajiv-Longowal Accord

  • On July 24, 1985, the Rajiv-Longowal Accord was signed between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal.
  • Among other things, the Centre agreed to give Chandigarh to Punjab, and January 26, 1986 was fixed as the date for the actual transfer.
  • However, less than a month after the signing of the accord, Longowal was assassinated by militants.

Resolutions in the Punjab Assembly over the years

  • Recent resolution in the Punjab Assembly staking claim to Chandigarh was the seventh of its kind.
  • The first resolution was brought on May 18, 1967 by Acharya Prithvi Singh Azad, and the second by Chaudhary Balbir Singh on January 19, 1970, both during Gurnam Singh’s government.
  • Sukhdev Singh Dhillon brought a resolution on September 7, 1978 when Parkash Singh Badal was Chief Minister, and Baldev Singh Mann brought a similar resolution on October 31, 1985 during Surjit Singh Barnala’s government.
  • Another resolution, also during Barnala’s government, was brought by Om Parkash Gupta on March 6, 1986.
  • On December 23, 2014, Gurdev Singh Jhoondan brought a resolution during Badal’s government.
  • The seventh resolution was brought by the government of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Difference between a state and union territory

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023