NZC meet: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh pushes for consensual solution to SYL
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday pushed for a consensual resolution of the SYL dispute by calling for coordination of the states with the Centre.
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday pushed for a consensual resolution of the SYL dispute by calling for coordination of the states with the Centre.
He was addressing the 28th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council (NZC) here, presided over by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The chief minister also sought the central government's help in supplementing Punjab's efforts to check cross-border smuggling of drugs which he said his government was committed to eliminating.
Referring to Punjab's border status, Amarinder reiterated his demand for the central government's concessions, on the lines of the fiscal and industrial concessions being given to other states, in order to compensate for the financial and economic losses already suffered by it.
This, he said, was necessary to provide a level playing field to the state, said an official release issued here.
Amarinder reiterated his demand for re-assessment and re-determination of the availability of surface waters in the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers.
Noting out that Punjab was suffering an ecological crisis because of depletion of ground water, he urged the central government to take expert advice on reliable estimates of future flows in these rivers.
On the drug menace in Punjab, Amarinder said as the border was manned by central security forces, the home minister should order a strict vigil on the border to check drugs smuggling.
He underlined the need to combat the drug problem in a systematic and organised manner, stressing on the importance of inter-state coordination. He urged the neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Haryana, HP and J-K to make focused efforts to check illegal cultivation of poppy and cannabis.
The chief minister also called for effective plugging of pilferage of narcotic substances from areas where they are being cultivated legally for pharmaceutical and related purposes.
Sharing of information and initiating criminal action against the smugglers involved in this nefarious trade should be promoted, he said. He also called for shifting of poppy husk vends located in Rajasthan along the border villages of Punjab.
Amarinder lamented the growing trend of centralisation of authority and said there was a need for greater operational freedom to states, cutting across party lines, as state governments "are in a much better position to understand, address and solve the problems of their people".
"Moreover, they are directly answerable to the people for ensuring a better quality of life," Amarinder said.
He said more funds are needed by the states for their primary development needs and reiterated his demand for an increase in the percentage of devolution of central funds to the states.
Amarinder expressed concern at the "dilution", by the Chandigarh Administration, of the 60:40 ratio decided by the central government, at the time of reorganisation of Punjab, in the matter of all government posts of the Union Territory between Punjab and Haryana.
He asked the home minister to direct the Chandigarh administration to ensure strict compliance with the 60:40 principle in matters of recruitment in all departments/ categories of employees.
Amarinder asked the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister to look into the matter of Shahpur Kandi dam project which had been stalled by the state in 2014. He said it was an important project which was in the interest of the nation and Punjab as well.
Amarinder also sought his Himachal Pradesh counterpart's intervention to put an immediate stop to discharge of effluents into river Sutlej by industries/towns by various rivulets.
Noting that the water of Sutlej river was used for drinking in many parts of Punjab, he said his government had initiated an ambitious project for cleaning of rivers. He said it would also ensure that all the waste water being discharged into Punjab's rivers was treated before discharged, in the next three years.
The meeting was also attended by Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, who is also UT Chandigarh's Administrator, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Enivornment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Himachal Pradesh minister Thakur Kaul Singh and Rajasthan minister Ram Pratap.