Post-Patil comment, mayor demands independent UT status for Chandigarh

A day after Punjab Governor Shivraj V Patil, during his address in the Punjab Assembly, demanded that Chandigarh be given to Punjab, the city's Mayor Subhash Chawla demanded independent status of Union Territory for Chandigarh.

Chawla said while both Punjab and Haryana staked claim over Chandigarh, the city was facing problems due to their disputes.

Patil made the statement as Punjab Governor, though he also holds charge of the UT Administrator. Chawla said making the statement was Patil's constitutional compulsion. He read out what the Punjab government had handed over to him.

The most recent bone of contention is providing additional water supply to the city. While a proposal was made for giving water to Chandigarh from Phase V and VI of Kajauli, due to the dispute between Punjab and Haryana over sharing of water, the proposal is not being given clearance.

Addressing a conference, Chawla said that Punjab and Haryana should delink the issue of providing water to Chandigarh from its own water-sharing disputes. "The two states are sparring over the issue of Hansi-Bhutana. Due to this, Chandigarh is not being given additional water. The needs of the city are growing. While both the states stake claim over Chandigarh, they are not thinking about the city's welfare. The states should delink the issue of providing water to Chandigarh from their dispute," he added.

He said at present Chandigarh did not have a defined share in the water and it was given on the basis of need. If Chandigarh was given an independent status, the city would be able to stake its claim.

The mayor said the two state governments had their offices in Chandigarh. The Raj Bhawans were located here, and so were the residences of the officers of these states. Despite that, the states were not agreeing to give Chandigarh its share of water. "Do the states not want adequate water for their consumption? I will take up the issue with the chief ministers of the two states," he said.

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