The ministry of home affairs (MHA) is contemplating restoring the post of chief commissioner to bring the city under the direct control of the Centre.
At present, the Punjab governor is holding the additional charge of city administrator. Various political parties have been raising the demand for restoration of the post of chief commissioner in the past. Recently, Chandigarh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Sanjay Tandon had written to the ministry demanding discontinuation of the system of Punjab governor being the administrator of UT, claiming that it will result in better governance.
Administration sources said that the MHA was considering the revival of the post of chief commissioner.
Tandon confirmed that the file pertaining to the revival of the post had been moved by the ministry. The current system has become a bane of development in city, he said, adding that, “We are in talk with the ministry and a final decision will be taken after consulting us.”
Ever since the creation of Chandigarh in November, 1966, the day-to-day affairs of the city were managed by the chief commissioner until the Disturbed Area Act was enforced in 1986, when militancy was at its peak in Punjab. The post of chief commissioner was abolished and the Punjab governor was made the UT administrator for better coordination between Punjab and Chandigarh.
Subsequently, the post of chief commissioner, held by an Arunachal Pradesh-GoaMizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre IAS officer, was converted into the post of adviser, who reported to the administrator.
On September 19, 2012, the high court had quashed the status of disturbed area accorded to Chandigarh for over two decades.
Different political parties have expressed dissatisfaction with the functioning of current administrator Shivraj Patil on various occasions. Recently, the BJP had locked horns with the administrator for convening administrator’s advisory council (ACC) meeting without consulting local member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher. The local MP had requested the administration to schedule the meeting after June 26, as she was busy with her prior commitments.
SIMILAR ATTEMPT MADE IN 2009
The MHA, in 2009, had made an attempt to revert back to the old system of chief commissioner on the expiry of term of then governor of Punjab, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd). However, the plan did not materialise and Shivraj Patil was made the governor. Patil’s term is ends in January 2015.
With the government of India planning to remove all governors appointed by the Congress, there are speculations that Patil might resign before his tenure ends.