NEW DELHI, India: The ruling Akali Dal in Punjab issued an “ultimatum” to the Centre that if it did not take any initiative for the implementation of the Punjab accord, the party President and Chief Minister, Mr. Sujit Singh Barnala, would announce an “action programme” at Muktsar on January 14.

The decision was taken at a joint meeting of the Working Committee, party MPAs, MLAs, district party presidents and members of the SGPC in Chandigarh. Mr. Amar Singh Nalini, senior vice-president, presided over the meeting in the absence of Mr. Barnala who was stated to be indisposed.

Later the State Finance Minister, Mr. Balwant Singh, told newsmen the meeting felt that no implementation of the accord had caused frustration and anger among the Sikhs.

Despite consensus in Parliament for the release of the Jodhpur detainees and efforts of the Akali Dal in this direction the statement of the Union Home Minister, Buta Singh made in Chandigarh was highly condemnable, Mr. Balwant Singh said.

The meeting authorized Mr. Barnala to talk to the Centre for finding immediately and finally a way for the implementation of the accord. “If the Centre does not take any initiative or start process in this regard by January 14, Mr. Barnala will announce an action programme for the Sikh ‘qaum’ (nation) for the implementation of the accord” the resolutions adopted at the meeting said.

Under the Punjab accord, Chandigarh to transfer to Punjab and in lieu of that certain Hindi speaking areas of Punjab were to go the Haryana side.

Earlier, four senior Punjab Ministers sharply reacted to Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s remarks attributing the delay in transfer of Chandigarh to the Punjab government’s failure in handing over 70,000 acres of land to Haryana.

They said it was a well-known fact that Chandigarh’s transfer to Punjab was stalled when Justice Mathew, who was entrusted with the task of identifying Hindi speaking areas to be given in lieu of Chandigarh, failed to deliver his award within the stipulated date of January 26. Thereafter the Central Government appointed Justice Venkataramiah who exceeded his terms of reference in adjudicating 70,000 acres of Punjab territory to be given to Haryana in lieu of Chandigarh without identifying the specific Hindi speaking areas, which in fact was the main term of reference as per the accord, they said.

The Ministers also took exception to the Prime Minister’s remarks that the Eradi Tribunal’s award was being delayed because of the Punjab government’s failure to assist the commission.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 16, 1987