55 years a couple, Haryana took first step towards separate assembly building

New Delhi: Five decades after Haryana was carved out of Punjab, the state has started taking steps towards setting up separate buildings to house its institutions.

The first block may have a new assembly building after the Chandigarh administration offered Haryana three possible sites at the intervention of the Union Home Ministry.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Chairman Gyan Chand Gupta led a delegation to inspect three sites in the presence of top officials of the Chandigarh Administration.

Haryana was carved out as a separate state on 1 November 1966 under the Punjab Reorganization Act. Since then, the Union Territory of Chandigarh has remained the joint capital of the two states, while Punjab and Haryana also share a civil secretariat building, and the High Court and Assembly complex.

Haryana is planning to build separate buildings for all three, even as several issues remain disputed between the two states – about 237 Acts from Haryana (particularly those related to police and revenue departments) There is a demand to remove the word ‘Punjab’ from it. In the state too, both claimed Chandigarh as the capital, and Haryana sought Hindi-speaking areas from Punjab, to share the Sutlej-Yamuna link waters.

Soon after assuming power in Punjab, the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government courted controversy by passing a resolution claiming full claim over Chandigarh. The Haryana Legislative Assembly had also opposed a similar resolution.

With the BJP in power both at the Center and in the state, the Haryana government is hopeful that the search for land for a separate assembly complex in Chandigarh will be successful. Both Khattar and Speaker Gupta have said that a large and modern space is needed to accommodate the MLAs and officials of Haryana.

Khattar had raised the issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, noting that with the delimitation by 2026, the number of MLAs from Haryana may increase to 126 from the current 90. Khattar had also claimed that Haryana was denied its fair share in the assembly premises. by Punjab for 55 years, and Punjab occupied its territory.

The CM said there was no space to accommodate the 350-odd officers of the Haryana Legislative Assembly, forcing three-four departments to share a room. He had said that six-seven officers of class I often share a room.

The Haryana government had sought at least 10 acres of land for the construction of the assembly building.

Of the three sites under consideration, one is near Chandigarh Railway Station, and the other is on IT Park Road, about 5-6 km from the existing assembly complex.

The BJP’s ally in power, the Jannayak Janata Party, is also demanding a separate High Court building for Haryana. Both the state and Punjab have taken up the matter with the Union Law Ministry.

Last month, Khattar had said that both the states would send their proposals in this regard to the Union Home Ministry. He said that he is of the view that there should be a separate High Court in Chandigarh also.