Case of Chandigarh

 10/13/2015  598

The Union Territory of Chandigarh is also a case in point. From 1952 to 1966, Chandigarh was the capital of Punjab and its citizens were represented in the state's Legislative Assembly. A Chief Commissioner headed the local administration. When the undivided Punjab was divided, both Punjab and Haryana claimed the new city for its capital. Pending the resolution of the issue, Chandigarh was made a Union Territory, with its administration functioning directly under the Centre. While the UT lost representation in the Assembly, it has a Member of Parliament. Till May 31, 1984 Chandigarh had an Administrator designated as the Chief Commissioner. On June 1, 1984, the Governor of Punjab took over as the Administrator and the Chief Commissioner was re-designated as the Adviser to the Administrator. This was a prelude to Operation Blue Star.

The stated reason was to facilitate "co-ordination" between the districts of Punjab and the capital in Chandigarh. This ad hoc measure became permanent. The Governor of Punjab is the head of the UT Administration, though it is the Adviser who runs the show. The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) came into existence on May 24, 1994. Several functions were transferred from the Chandigarh Administration to it through notifications issued on September 28, 1995 and May 16, 1996. The elected body of the MCC came into being in December 1996. The first thing it did was to stall the decision to levy property tax on commercial and residential buildings in the city, thereby triggering a duel between the UT Administration's bureaucratic and political wings that continues till date. The transfer of functions was a half-hearted affair. The bureaucratically run Chandigarh Administration  retains the bulk of the assets, including near-total control of funds and resources. Chandigarh has five governments/power centres: The Union Home Ministry, the Punjab Raj Bhavan, the UT Secretariat, the MP and the MCC. Things have been falling between several stools.

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