(MENAFN- IANS) Chandigarh, Sep 25 (IANS) A day ahead of the North Zone Council meeting in Amritsar to be chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday demanded Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to take a firm stand on important issues concerning the state, including the inalienable right over state capital Chandigarh.
In a statement issued here, senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said that since the Union Home Minister will chair the meeting, it is of utmost importance to clarify that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and that no land could be allotted in the Union Territory for constructing a separate Vidhan Sabha by Haryana.
“The Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) inability to take up this issue forcefully with the Centre has led to fast-tracking of this project, which should be stopped in its tracks immediately,” Cheema said.
The SAD leader asserted that the Chief Minister should also declare that the character of Panjab University in Chandigarh could not be changed, and that there is no question of affiliating any Haryana college with the university.
“It should be made clear that Haryana does not have any stake in Panjab University after voluntarily disaffiliating its colleges from the institution in 1978,” he said.
In addition, Cheema said the Chief Minister is also duty-bound to clarify the principled stand of Punjab on the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and sharing of river water with the eneighbouring states.
Neither does Punjab have land for construction of the canal as it was transferred back to farmers, nor does it have any excess water with large swathes of the state turning into red zones, Cheema said.
He added that the Chief Minister should also ask the Central government to revert to the old guidelines for appointment of Chairman and members of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
The SAD leader hoped that the presence of Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal would not become a hindrance in defending Punjab's case on important issues concerning it.
The Northern Zonal Council comprises the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territories of Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Chandigarh.
Besides the Chief Ministers of the member states, along with two senior ministers from each state and the Lieutenant Governors or Administrators of the Union Territories, the Chief Secretaries and other high-ranking officials of the state governments, the Union Territories and the Centre will participate in the meeting.
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