Chandigarh asks to keep separate identity

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As Punjab and Haryana squabble over the status of Chandigarh, the people living here for decades speak of retaining its unique cultural and autonomous identity. They are proud of being recognised as people of Chandigarh rather than of Punjab or Haryana.

Institute for Development Communication director Pramod Kumar suggested during Tuesday’s TOI event that: “With the political solution existing in the realm of impossible, both Punjab and Haryana should have their own capitals so that the third party, Chandigarh, doesn’t continue to play spoilsport.” Residents had their concerns about the transfer of the city to either Punjab or Haryana. “I foresee Chandigarh as another Ludhiana or Jalandhar if transferred to Punjab,” and city resident for 55 years and Manimajra resident welfare association (RWA) president Colonel Gursewak Singh said. “Petty politics always gets in the way of development and the city cannot move forward under the lingering shadow of Punjab and Haryana.”

Dissatisfied with the taxrevenue distribution by the administration, residents said the tax be used for the development of the Tricity as a whole. NK Jhingan, a resident of Chandigarh for more than 50 years, said: “Chandigarh is losing its identity steadily despite the precarious balance maintained due to the influence of bureaucracy in the city. It is hurtful to share the tax revenue generated by us, the people of Chandigarh, with Punjab and Haryana.”

Former government college principal Swaran Chaudhary, who has been here for 64 years and has seen the city grow from an infant, prioritised Chandigarh’s need for sustainable development and said: “It should remain as a Union Territory instead of being eclipsed by Punjab or Haryana. The conflict will only compromise Chandigarh’s identity.”

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