Will Raise All Issues Concerning Punjab: CM Mann Ahead Of Northern Zonal Council Meet

Shah will preside over the meeting of the NZC which comprises Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territories of Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Chandigarh.

Bhagwant Mann

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Monday said he would raise all issues concerning the state with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council (NZC) beginning in Amritsar on Tuesday.

Shah will preside over the meeting of the NZC which comprises Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territories of Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Chandigarh.

Punjab is hosting the 31st NZC.

The council discusses a wide range of issues, including matters related to the Bhakra-Beas Management Board, affiliation to Panjab University, road construction work under PMGSY, canal projects and water sharing, matters related to reorganisation of states, and infrastructure development.

Mann, who reached Amritsar on Monday, shared his pictures with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena on X.

"We have arrived at Guru Nagari Sri Amritsar Sahib for a very important meeting of the North Zone Council.... Tomorrow a very important meeting is going to be held under the chairmanship of Home Minister Amit Shah," Mann posted on X.

He further said he will be raising all issues related to Punjab and Punjabis with the Union minister.

Official sources said issues such as the process of land allotment to Haryana in Chandigarh for setting up an additional building of its state assembly and the unwillingness of Rajasthan in getting its full capacity of water from the Rajasthan feeder during the recent floods will be taken up with the Union home minister during the meeting.

Ahead of the meeting, tight security arrangements have been made in Amritsar, officials said.

The chief minister, in a statement here, said brainstorming sessions will be held on various issues pertaining to these states during the meet. 

Mann underscored the need for making this event a huge success by giving a warm welcome to the dignitaries. 

Mann had directed the officers to showcase the rich cultural legacy of the state before the visiting dignitaries, besides ensuring warm hospitality to them during their stay.

Meanwhile, the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal asked Chief Minister Mann to take a firm stand on all important issues concerning Punjab, including the state's inalienable right over Chandigarh, at the NZC meeting.

In a statement here, senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said since the Union home minister would chair the meeting, it was of utmost importance to clarify that Chandigarh belonged to Punjab and that no land could be allotted in the Union territory for constructing a separate assembly building by Haryana.

"The (ruling) Aam Aadmi Party's 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 said the chief minister should also declare that the character of Panjab University could not be changed and that there was no question of it giving affiliation to any Haryana college.

"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 stated.

In addition, Cheema said, the chief minister was also duty bound to clarify the principled stand of Punjab on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and sharing of river waters with neighbouring 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," he said.

The chief minister should also ask the central government to revert to the old guidelines for appointment of the chairperson and members of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), he said.

-With PTI Input