UT status: City’s boon and bane

The city that has a unique status of being the joint capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana as well as a Union Territory has enjoyed the benefits of its status and but has also suffered because of it. While it is flush with funds, taking decisions that involve the two states is a tedious task with issues pending for years. The tussles between the bureaucrats from the States and the Union Territory have repeatedly been witnessed.

The city which has a population of 10.54 lakh during the budget this year got funds amounting to Rs 876 crore under the plan head and Rs 2615.56 crore under the non-plan head. A budget of around 634 crore was approved for the Municipal Corporation. Apart from this, the governments of Punjab and Haryana also allocate funds for its departments located in the city.

However, there are several issues where the Administration cannot proceed without the consent of Punjab and Haryana. This causes delays in work in the city. Increasingly there is emphasis on development in the tricity region instead of Chandigarh in isolation. The sates do not always agree to conform to the bylaws of Chandigarh. The dispute over construction of a housing project to the north of the Capitol Complex is an example.

The bureaucrats from Punjab and Haryana holding the important posts in the city is another bone of contention. The posts are being filled on 60:40 ratio with officers from Punjab and Haryana. Tussles were witnessed between the officers of the states with those of the UT cadre. In fact situation came to a pass where the officers from the states demanded that they should be repatriated.

Chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh, P C Sanghi says: "It has been 47 years since the re-organisation. Still the officers from Punjab and Haryana are holding key posts. There are tussles between the states over filling up posts. Decision making is affected. It is time that Chandigarh has its own cadre" Former councillor MPS Chawla shares a similar view. "The officers from the UT cadre would have a feeling of affinity to the city. The bureaucrats at present come here for three years and leave. The person who succeeds one officer does not pursue the initiatives taken. The city residents have no say in decision making," Chawla says.

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