The Punjab government will fight strongly for its “rightful claim over Chandigarh”, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said today in his first public reaction to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement on providing employees of the Union Territory administration with the same benefits as Central government employees.
The AAP leader also accused the central government of violating the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966 by imposing officers and personnel from other states and services in Chandigarh administration.
“Central Govt has been stepwise imposing officers and personnel from other states and services in Chandigarh administration. This goes against the letter and spirit of Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966. Punjab will fight strongly for its rightful claim over Chandigarh…(sic),” Mr Mann tweeted today.
Central Govt has been stepwise imposing officers and personnel from other states and services in Chandigarh administration. This goes against the letter and spirit of Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966. Punjab will fight strongly for its rightful claim over Chandigarh…
– Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) March 28, 2022
Declaring that the employees are going to “benefit in a big way,” Mr Shah on Sunday said “the retirement age of employees in the Union Territory will now go up from 58 to 60 years and women employees will now get child care leave of two years from the current one year”.
“Today, the Modi government has made a big decision… Tomorrow a notification will be issued and from the upcoming financial year (April 1) you will get the benefit,” Mr Shah said, citing that it was a “long pending demand of employees of the Chandigarh administration”.
The comments by the Union Minister has put the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and the opposition Akali Dal and Congress up in arms.
Reacting to Mr Shah’s statements, senior AAP leader and Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that BJP is “scared” of the rise of AAP.
“From 2017 to 2022 Congress-ruled Punjab. Amit Shah didn’t take away Chandigarh powers then. As soon as AAP formed Govt in Punjab, Amit Shah took away Chandigarh’s services,” Mr Sisodia tweeted.
AAP had earlier accused the Centre of attempting to control the bureaucrats in Delhi. The matter is pending in the Supreme court.
In a tweet, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema said, “MOH’s (Ministry of Home Affairs) decision to impose central government rules on employees of Chandigarh is in violation of the spirit of the Punjab Reorg (Reorganisation) Act and must be reconsidered.”
“This means denial of right of Capital to Punjab for ever. After changes in the BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board) rules, this is another big blow to the rights of Punjab,” read another tweet.
Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said his party also condemns the decision.
“We strongly condemn dictatorial decision of BJP to usurp upon the rights of Punjab over control of Chandigarh. It belongs to Punjab and this unilateral decision is not only a direct attack on federalism but also attack on Punjab’s share of 60 per cent control over UT,” he tweeted.
Mr Khaira also tweeted that “I wish to remind BJP, Chandigarh is a disputed territory with Punjab’s claim justified by Rajiv-Longowal Accord… Its a deceit and cheating by non less than a government”.