At CMs’ meet, states split on water, power issues
The 26th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council of Chief Ministers Friday saw differences over sharing of water and power between states, with a decision taken to hold a special session to resolve these issues.
The meeting was chaired by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and attended by the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi and the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Also present was Chandigarh UT Administrator Shivraj Patil.
Addressing a press conference later, Chidambaram said a consensus had to be built on issues and sought resolution in the spirit of "cooperative federalism". Pointing out that only 17 states had so far submitted comments on recommendations of the Punchi Commission on Centre-state relations, two years after it had submitted its report, Chidambaram said they could first go ahead with issues on which there was commonality of interest.
The Home Minister proposed to hold the next meeting of the council in February 2013 in Rajasthan or Jammu and Kashmir.
In his address, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, who is the vice-chairman of the council, sought a "genuinely federal structure".
He said there was a consensus that states need to be given greater freedom in choosing and financing their development priorities.
Badal expressed concern over "the tendency of the Centre to usurp, through open and clandestine ways, the powers and authority of the states already ensured by the Constitution" and said it was nothing short of "flagrant" violation.
He also accused the Centre of quietly shifting subjects from State's List to Concurrent List and the Union List.
Badal also raised the issue of transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab, demanding that this be done immediately. Such pending issues continue to remain a festering wound in the state, he claimed.