The Punjab government on Wednesday decided to approach the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) after the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) threatened to withdraw its personnel deployed at the civil secretariat here if the state failed to clear its dues by the month-end.
In a communiqué sent recently to the Punjab chief secretary by the inspector general, CISF (headquarters), the latter said the outstanding amount to be paid by the state government was Rs 22 crore. In case the state government failed to clear the dues, the CISF would have to withdraw from security duty after August 31, the communiqué added.
Principal secretary, home affairs and justice, DS Bains said Punjab had no option but to approach the union ministry to intervene and resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the state government and the CISF.
"We are not against footing the bill for the security being provided by the CISF at the civil secretariat. However, our major concern is about the penal interest being imposed over and above the security charges to be borne by the state government," said Bains.
He said Punjab would also take up the matter of not being paid for providing security to union government installations such as airports, telecom and other offices of the Centre in Chandigarh and other parts of the region.
"According to our calculations, the Punjab government owes only Rs 12 crore to the CISF. The rest is only by way of penal interest, which is absolutely wrong. That's why we are going to approach the union ministry of home affairs, under which the paramilitary force falls," said Bains.
Offices of the Punjab and Haryana chief ministers, cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats are located in the secretariat. More than 850 CISF personnel are deployed for the security of the landmark building from where major administrative decisions are initiated by both states.
Till 1995, the Punjab Police was handling the secretariat's security. After the August 1995 bomb blast which claimed the life of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh and 16 others, the security was handed over to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). In 1999, the CISF took over the responsibility of securing the secretariat.
Sources stated that as per the original arrangement, Punjab and Haryana decided to foot the bill on a 60:40 basis. Punjab was required to pay Rs 1.5 crore annually to the CISF.
Trouble began in 2003 when due to an administrative order, the Punjab government decided to pay on a 50:50 basis. Since Punjab started paying less than its pre-decided share, the bill mounted over the years, sources in the government said, adding that the state government has to revert to the original arrangement.
Sources said the Centre owed more than Rs 14 crore to the Punjab government for the deployment of state cops for security of union government offices and other crucial installations.
In 2012, the Centre had asked the Punjab government to clear outstanding dues. The former also advised the latter to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the CISF, failing which it would be forced to withdraw the paramilitary force from security duty. However, the Punjab government took no initiative in this regard.