The forgotten accord

“The Capital Project Area of Chandigarh will go to Punjab. Some adjoining areas which were previously part of Hindi or the Punjabi regions were included in the Union Territory. With the capital region going to Punjab the areas which were added to the Union Territory from the Punjabi region of the erstwhile state of Punjab will be transferred to Punjab and those from Hindi region to Haryana. The entire Sukhna lake will be kept as part of the Chandigarh and will thus go to Punjab…

… The actual transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and areas in lieu thereof to Haryana will take place simultaneously on 26th January, 1986″ …

The above lines are not fantasy, the above is an extract of a document signed by Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, signed on  July 24, 1985. The Rajiv-Longowal accord.

The Akali party led by Badal and SGPC led by Tohra opposed this peace accord.

Subsequently, a Venkataramiah award was announced by the Government of India; which was accepted by Haryana; 40,000 acre of Hindi speaking village land to Haryana in lieu of Chandigarh. Barnala too is reported to have been keen to accept it. But it was scuttled too, again by Badal and Tohra. (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/dark-clouds-over-transfer-of-chandigarh-to-punjab-rajiv-longowal-accord-seem-to-disperse/1/348578.html)

It was presumably not in the interest of some people to let the issue be solved amicably. Keeping things on the boil helps political parties. It is thus very strange that all of the parties that have ruled Punjab since 1986 have paid only lip service to the demand and have not held negotiations with Haryana over an amicable solution.

But then who has paid the ecoonmic price, and to what extent?

A state capital has its economic benefits, with the umpteen government offices, courts and other ancillary institutes. By having all of the them headquartered in a Union Territory, Punjab has lost the economic advantages of an exclusive captive state capital. It is the only state to not gain from a capital. Certainly not Haryana, it has proximity to Delhi with all the ensuing advantage, be it for Gurgaon or Faridabad, and it’s economy is ably supported by these two prime movers.

It is time the state government of Punjab woke from its slumber and seek Chandigarh as its its own. It is also time for Haryana to plan a capital of its own so that it too can have the advantages of investments in new infrastructure for a new capital. Perhaps Chandrababu Naidu can organise a classroom lecture for the CMs of Punjab and Haryana; for Naidu has announced his new capital Amravati within an year of having a new state.

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