CHANDIGARH: A day after Haryana Assembly passed the Bill for a separate management committee for gurdwaras in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday raised questions about the legal validity of the same.
Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, however, clarified that the separate Sikh body would be constituted under legal framework. “The Haryana Vidhan Sabha has power to pass a Bill for a separate Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC),” he said.
Asked when the separate gurdwara committee would become functional in the state, Hooda said the Haryana Sikh Gurudwaras Management Bill-2014 would become an Act after getting nod from the Governor. “After that further process will be initiated,” he said. Referring to the Punjab CM’s remarks, Hooda said: “I respect Badal and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar. They too should respect the sentiments of Sikhs in Haryana and stop creating any hurdles for Sikhs in serving the gurdwaras.” Describing the Haryana government’s move to set up a separate SGPC as illegal and patently wrong, Badal said it was a desperate attempt of the Congress to hand over the control of gurdwaras to its agents in Haryana. “This ill-conceived move is aimed at dividing the Sikhs and destabilizing the Sikh panth,” he said. Meanwhile, Hooda has made it clear that no proposal was under consideration of the state government to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products. The Haryana CM was addressing a press conference after the Cabinet meeting here.
He said the state government was committed to serving the people. “We have always taken decisions for the welfare of people. The old age allowance of `1,000 per month being given by the state government is the highest in the country,” he noted. Haryana is the first state in the country where a policy is being formulated to provide relief to the people on toll charges. For this, the state government would enter into an agreement with the National Highways Authority of India and concessionaires, and the process is expected to be started within 15 days.
In reply to another question, Hooda said there was a difference in toll rates on toll plazas constructed before 2008 and after 2010. For the monthly pass holders of toll plazas, the state government would bear 75 per cent of the rates at Palwal Toll Plaza and 50 per cent at toll plazas falling on the Panipat-Rewari national highways, he said.