Chandigarh gets administrator after 32 years in Delhi

‘demolition man’ Chandigarh, Aug 17 (PTI) After a gap of 32 years, UnionTerritory of Chandigarh will have a separate administrator, acharge held by the Punjab governor since the terrorism days inmid eighties, with BJP leader K J Alphons, better known forhis demolition drive in Delhi, given the responsibility. The appointment of the 63-year-old former bureaucrat fromKerala and BJP executive committee member brings to an endChandigarh’s uniqueness in the country as having the governorof a neighbouring state as its administrator. "I am happy that the prime minister has reposed faith inme to give such a position. It’s a great city… it’s a greatjob… It will be nice to be there. I hope to utilise thischance in a good way," he told PTI on phone. "I will be joining next week as Administrator of theUnion Territory," he said. "Though I don’t know much about the city, but I haveread a lot about it," Alphons said. On being told that his appointment will reverse the 32-year-old system of Punjab governor being the Chandigarhadministrator, he said "It’s a political decision," adding,"Chandigarh is capital of two states and it requires afull time administrator." A native of Manimala in Kottayam district in Kerala,Alphons, who had 27 years of bureaucratic experience, said,"The prime minister found me administratively compatible forthe post of administrator." "I will work for the development of the city," Alphons,who had visited Chandigarh only once, said. One of the UPSC toppers of 1979, Alphons is known for hisDelhi Development Authority (DDA) demolition drive in the1990s. He left the IAS and joined BJP in 2011. The practice of appointing an Administrator of the UTdesignated as "Chief Commissioner" continued up to May 31,1984. Thereafter, on June 1, 1984, the Governor of Punjabtook over the direct administration of the Union Territory asthe Administrator. "Chief Commissioner" was redesignated as "Adviser to theAdministrator" from June 1, 1984. According to sources, the Parkash Singh Badal governmentwill see this as not just a move to reduce the stategovernment’s stake in Chandigarh’s functioning but also a steptowards diluting its claim to Chandigarh. Punjab’s demand for Chandigarh had been relegated to theback-burner and was talked about only in rhetoric terms. However, with less than six months to go for the assemblypolls in the state, the issue has the potential to snowballinto a major election issue and will give the SAD themuch-needed political push in the run-up to the polls. Meanwhile, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh rejectedthe appointment, saying it was a blatantly unjust move aimedat snatching away Chandigarh from Punjab. "You either make the central government, of which yourparty is an important constituent, rescind the move or youwithdraw your daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal from thecouncil of ministers," he told Badal. He said Congress will strongly protest and oppose the movein all available fora, including public and judicial, sayingit not only subverts and undermines the Rajiv-Longowal Accord,but also threatens the hard earned peace in Punjab. PTI VJ KVAKAZMN


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here