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The Hindu
The Hindu

Punjab Assembly to have special, one-day session on Friday

The Punjab Assembly will have a special one-day session on Friday to discuss the Centre’s decision to extend the central service rules to employees of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The decision to convene the special one-day session was taken in a State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

The Assembly’s list of business for the day said Chief Minister Mann will move a resolution "regarding matters pertaining to Union Territory Chandigarh".

The Centre's recent decision that central service rules will apply to the employees of the Union Territory of Chandigarh has evoked sharp reactions from AAP, Congress and SAD in Punjab.

Mr. Mann had on Monday said it goes against the Punjab Reorganisation Act.

Mr. Mann had also said Punjab will fight for its “rightful” claim over Chandigarh.

"Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha has convened a one-day special sitting of the first session of the 16th State Assembly on Friday i.e. April 1 at 10 am," said a Punjab government tweet.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah's announcement on Sunday had evoked sharp reactions from AAP, Congress and SAD leaders, with many of them saying that this was "another big blow to the rights of Punjab" after changes in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) rules.

Mr. Shah had said the move will benefit Chandigarh UT employees in a “big way” as their retirement age will increase from 58 to 60 years and women employees will get childcare leave of two years instead of the current one year.

Ever since the Aam Aadmi Party formed the government in Punjab, the BJP-led government at the Centre is feeling scared due to the several “pro-people” decisions being taken by the Mann dispensation and “has intensified its attacks on the rights of Punjab”, State Finance Minister and AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema had earlier claimed.

Congress MLA from Bholath, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, meanwhile, on Thursday sought immediate intervention of Bhagwant Mann "to thwart the various attempts of the Union government to usurp the federal rights of the State".

"Mann should immediately seek time from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprise him of the consequences in case the Centre fails to refrain from meddling into Punjab affairs,” Mr. Khaira said.

He said each and every state of the country drew its powers from the Constitution of India and so did Punjab.

"The framers of our Constitution clearly defined and laid down the powers vested in both the Centre as well as the state. That is why framers of our Constitution said India is unitary in spirit and federal in form," said Mr. Khaira in a statement here.

He alleged that the unilateral decision of the Union government to apply central government service rules in Chandigarh was completely in violation of the Reorganisation Act of Punjab 1966.

It was not only discriminatory but also diluted Punjab's lawful right over Chandigarh as its capital, he claimed.

Earlier, the change in rules for the appointment of top officers to the BBMB had raked up a storm with many political parties in Punjab and Haryana criticising the Centre.

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