IEP SAS Nagar, January 12
The 20th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council Standing Committee of the Northern States dealing with inter State issues saw the State of Punjab put forward its case in an emphatic manner pertaining to the State’s rights and inter State issues. The meeting saw officers from the Inter State Council Secretariat of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in attendance along with Chief Secretaries of the Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and Adviser to the UT Chandigarh besides Secretaries of the different departments of UT Chandigarh.
The view point of the State on whole gamut of sensitive issues viz. River waters of Punjab, State’s right on Chandigarh and Panjab University, Demand of tribunal to assess current situation with regard to the river waters, increasing international flights from the Mohali airport, Starting UDAN scheme from 4 airports in the State, Strengthening the international borders, Uniform policy for purchasing land, and stemming the loss to Punjab from Hansi – Butana canal and Ghaggar was presented with facts in a forthright way.
In his inaugural speech, the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr. Vijay Kumar Janjua batted for the Cooperative Federalism and said that such meetings are the right platform for bringing to the fore, inter state matters and debate upon their solutions. The Chief Secretary made it absolutely clear that as per the current state of river waters, Punjab itself is facing shortage of water hence it doesn’t has extra water to spare for the other States. “These are emotional issues for Punjab and being the parent state, it has full right on its Capital but which has been denied to it all along”, said the Chief Secretary adding that the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has also pressed State’s claims on these issues. In keeping with the principles of One Nation One Family there must be a uniform policy concerning buying and selling of land in all the States of the country. It is imperative for Punjab for these issues to be sorted out, said the Chief Secretary.
During the agenda wise discussions, the Principal Secretary Water Resources Mr. Krishan Kumar apprised that the level of water which was available with Punjab at the time of river waters agreements, has come down drastically and the State itself is face to face with the paucity of this precious resource. He further argued that a new tribunal regarding the assessment of Ravi – Beas river waters is the need of the hour besides pressing for water to Punjab from Yamuna. Likewise, the unnatural construction of the Hansi – Butana canal causes 38 villages in Punjab to be flooded. Rooting for the resolution of Lissara Nallah by Haryana, the Secretary Water Resources also highlighted the importance of Mini Hydel projects on Bhakhra Main Line apart from making a strong case for a permanent member from Punjab in the Bhakhra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
The Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Mr. K.A.P. Sinha pointed out that Chandigarh must go to Punjab for the latter being the parent State. He further made out a robust and rationale case for the resident of any state being able to purchase land in another State.
Presenting the case of Punjab for increasing the international flights from the Mohali International Airport in a logical and crystal clear manner, the Principal Secretary Civil Aviation Mr. Rahul Bhandari said that Punjab has invested in the project and moreover, it is the demand of present scenario considering a huge number of Punjabi diaspora in Canada and other countries to expand the number of international flights. The Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann too has taken up this issue with the Government of India, said the Principal Secretary adding that it is high time the domestic flights are commenced from the Ludhiana, Bathinda, Adampur and Pathankot airports.
The Additional Chief Secretary Home Mr. Anurag Verma pressed for anti drone technology to be developed in view of the Punjab being a border State sharing 550 Km long International border with Pakistan. The Secretary Environment Mr. Rahul Tiwari raised the issue of pollution of the Ghaggar river.
During the presentation on the best practices of their respective States, the Principal Secretary Governance Reforms Tejveer Singh highlighted the paddy straw management works apart from Sakhi application developed for stopping gender based violence and Mini Jungles developed for increasing the Forest cover in the State of Punjab.