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Punjab seeks 'cooperative federalism' for inter-state disputes

Posted on Mar 03 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, March 3 : Calling for the early resolution of inter-state issues, the Punjab government Monday sought "cooperative federalism" in the country saying that state and central governments should be "equal and responsible partners in progress".

Addressing the Punjab assembly at the opening of its session here, Governor Shivraj Patil said that many inter-state issues concerning Punjab remained unresolved.

These issues include the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, sharing of river water and, transfer of Punjabi speaking areas, he said.

"Several important issues relating to the state still remain unresolved. The state has been denied its capital, Chandigarh, and vast Punjabi speaking areas have been left out of it at the time of reorganisation in 1966," he said, adding the deadline for the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab was set by the central government as Jan 26, 1986, but nothing has happened.

Highlighting the severe water crisis being faced by Punjab, the Punjab government sought the expeditious implementation of the 'riparian principle' on water-sharing with other states.

"Punjab already faces severe water crisis with ground water level going alarmingly down because of excessive reliance of our farmers on tubewell irrigation. Keeping in view, this problem needs to be resolved expeditiously, which has unfortunately not been done so far," said Patil.

Justifying the rationale behind seeking cooperative federalism in the country, the governor demanded that the share of states in central taxes be increased from the present 30 percent to 50 percent and that these funds should be given to states in an untied manner.

"The state government is in a better position to understand and address the problems of the people of the state. Financial strength and autonomy should be given to the state so that the demands of the people were addressed and met in an expeditious and just manner," he said.

Patil said that Punjab was suffering on the front of industrial investment due to the concessions given by the central government to the neighbouring hill states, and sought extension of these concessions to Punjab also.

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