M A I N   N E W S

Time to redefine relations with Centre, says Punjab
Guv seeks transfer of Chandigarh, Punjabi-speaking areas
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Budget Session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha started today with Governor Shivraj Patil setting an agenda for restructuring the Centre-state relationship where the states have a greater share in resources in terms of allocation of funds. Besides, the Governor also demanded that the Centre must intervene and restore the Punjabi speaking areas in neighbouring states and Chandigarh to Punjab. While, the Governor highlighted the state’s economic and social developmental plan for the year ahead, the opposition Congress staged a walkout.

Highlighting the long pending demands of the state, the Governor said: “The government reiterates its demand for restructuring of Centre-state relations with a view to strengthen the economic growth and development of the states according to their specific needs”.

Patil emphasised that the present formula for distribution of resources and devolution of Central funds to states needs a drastic recasting in favour of the states. He pointedly sought more power for states and a greater share for the states in Central taxes.

While, the Governor read his address highlighting his government’s agenda, Congress MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot read a parallel speech listing the SAD-BJP government’s failures. Later, led by Congress Legislature Party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the opposition walked out of the House.

Unperturbed, Patil went on to say that there were several issues agitating the minds of the people of Punjab and this include the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab without any further delay.

Referring to the water issue, the Governor said, “Our waters have been snatched from us through systematic discrimination. This government reiterates its demand that the issue of river waters of Punjab be settled in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted riparian principle. Once again, Punjab is the only state where this principle has been violated. This must be undone”.

The Governor, who read out from a 46-page printed booklet, highlighted the anguish of the Punjab Government over the “travesty of justice as the main culprits responsible (for 1984 anti-Sikh riots) identified by various judicial commissions and independent judicial and civil rights organisations have been allowed to go scot free”.

Further, the Governor highlighted his government’s concern over the killing of members of the Sikh community in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said these were not isolated incidents. There have been systematic attacks of this nature on members of the minority communities living in Pakistan. He demanded that the government of India take up the matter with their Pakistani counterparts. Similarly, he said the issue of attacks on Sikhs in Australia deserved to be taken up with utmost seriousness with the concerned government.

Referring to the economic packages being extended to states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor said these were hurting Punjab’s economy, leading to flight of industry from here. “Stop these packages or give them to Punjab too”, the Governor demanded.

Further, the Governor highlighted what he said improvement in the state’s economy since the SAD-BJP government came to power in 2007. On the governance front too, he said that the government had set up the Governance Reforms Commission that has come up with set of path-breaking recommendations to simplify procedures, expedite delivery systems and link reward to performance, thereby improving governance. He also highlighted the achievements of the various departments of the state government.



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