Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that the terms of service of Chandigarh Union Territory administrative workers would now be in line with the central civil service and this would benefit them “substantially”.
He also said women workers would now get childcare leave for two years from the current year.
“I would like to give good news to the Chandigarh administrative staff. From today, the terms of service of the Chandigarh administrative staff will now be in line with the central civil service. You (employees) will benefit greatly.,” Mr Shah said.
The Union Minister made the announcement after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone for several Chandigarh Police projects.
With the decision, the retirement age of workers in the Union Territory will be increased from 58 to 60 years, Mr Shah said, adding that the decision would also benefit workers working in the education sector.
On the announcement for workers, he said, “This is a long -delayed request by Chandigarh administration workers. Today, the Modi government has made a big decision”.
“Tomorrow a notification will be issued and starting the next financial year (April 1) you will benefit from it,” Mr Shah said.
However, the minister’s announcement provoked a sharp reaction from some BJP rivals.
Senior Shiromani leader Akali Dal Daljit Singh Cheema in a tweet said, “The MOH’s (Home Ministry) decision to impose central government regulations on Chandigarh workers is against the spirit of the Punjab Reorg (Restructuring) Act and must be reconsidered.”
“This means the denial of Capital rights to Punjab forever. After the changes in the BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board) rules, this is another great blow to Punjab rights,” he said.
The Union Territory of Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
“Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab (general) and an adhoc arrangement of UT (Union Territory) has been made. Sixty per cent of the workers are from Punjab and the whole of Haryana … at the time of the restructuring, it was agreed that Punjab government rules would apply to UT workers .The decision of this Center is dictatorial and was taken without consulting the state of Punjab, ”Mr Cheema later told the media.
“Today’s decision is a conspiracy to dilute Punjab’s claim against Chandigarh. We are against it,” he said, adding that “the decision is against the spirit of federalism”.
Congress chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira also condemned the decision.
“We strongly condemn the BJP dictator’s decision to seize Punjab’s right to control of Chandigarh. It belongs to Punjab and this unilateral decision is not only a direct attack on federalism but also attacks the Punjab part of 60 per cent control over UT,” he tweeted.
Mr Khaira also tweeted that “I would like to remind the BJP, Chandigarh is a disputed province with the Punjab claim allowed by the Rajiv-Longowal Accord … It is a scam and a fraud no less than the government”.
Shortly after the Home Minister’s announcement, AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the BJP was “scared” of the AAP’s rise.
“From 2017 to 2022, Congress ruled Punjab. Amit Shah did not seize power of Chandigarh at that time. As soon as the AAP formed the Government in Punjab, Amit Shah seized the services of Chandigarh, ”tweeted Mr Sisodia.