Punjab's claim on Chandigarh

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Punjab's claim on Chandigarh

  • The longstanding dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh came to the fore again after the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory instead of the Punjab Service Rules.
  • Punjab Assembly in a special session passed a unanimous resolution reiterating the state’s claim on Chandigarh.
  • Resolution in the Punjab Assembly staking claim to Chandigarh was the seventh of its kind.

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 Shivaliks as the site of the new capital.
  • The capital was officially moved from Shimla to Chandigarh on September 21, 1953.
  • Until Haryana was born, Chandigarh remained the capital of Punjab.

Reorganisation of Punjab and Chandigarh became a UT

  • 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 of 60:40.
  • The States Reorganisation Act, 1966, did not make changes to the arrangement arrived at in 1952.

What about a separate capital for Haryana?

  • The Centre had considered dividing Chandigarh into two parts but ultimately decided against it.
  • The government was against dividing the city because the layout, architecture and beauty have evoked wide admiration and the city has acquired an international reputation.
  • 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 an equal amount to build the new capital.

What claims on Chandigarh were made subsequently?

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  • 1982: Akali Dal expressed dissatisfaction over the Punjab Reorganisation Act, and launched the Dharam Yudh Morcha with the object of realising the goals of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973.

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  • 1985: Rajiv-Longowal Accord was signed between then PM Rajiv Gandhi and Akali leader 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.

Claims of various political parties

AAP: whenever a new state has been carved out of a parent state in the country, the capital city has stayed with the parent state.

  • When Maharashtra was reorganised and Gujarat was born on January 1, 1960, Maharashtra retained Mumbai as its capital.
  • When Uttarakhand was carved out of UP in 2000, Lucknow remained the capital of UP.
  • When Chhattisgarh was created on November 1, 2000, Bhopal remained the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
  • When Jharkhand was created on November 15, 2000, Patna remained the capital of Bihar.
  • In the case of Telangana, which was created in 2014, the reorganisation period is 10 years, until 2024.
  • But in Punjab, the reorganisation period continues even after five decades, it is argued.

Haryana’s stand

In 2018, Haryana CM suggested that a special body should be set up for the development of Chandigarh. But the idea was rejected by then Punjab CM who said Chandigarh indisputably belonged to Punjab. Haryana has been demanding a separate High Court and has passed a resolution in the Assembly. Haryana CM is of the opinion that the Punjab government’s one-sided resolution has no meaning.

Exam track

Prelims take away

  • Re-organisation of states and UT
  • Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973.
  • Rajiv-Longowal Accord
  • States Reorganisation Act

Mains track

Q. The linguistic reorganization of states resulted in rationalizing the political map of India without seriously weakening its unity. Examine 250 word