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April 22, 2024 4:16 pm

Himachal Govt responds to Punjab assembly resolution, says it has right to impose water cess within state

Shimla, March 23

After the Punjab assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution declaring the water cess proposed to be levied by neighboring Himachal Pradesh on hydel power generated in the hill state as “illegal”, Himachal Pradesh government has said that it has every right to impose such cess within the state and it is not being been imposed on the waters of a neighboring state.

“The Inter-State River Water Disputes Act,1956 does not prohibit it to impose water cess on power generation for use of water and there is no bar on imposition of water cess under section 7 of this Act. The State has every right to impose water cess within the state as the cess is not being imposed and affected on the waters of a neighboring state,” the Himachal Pradesh government said in a statement, adding that it has the right to impose any tax on usage of water as it “being state’s subject”.

Himachal Pradesh, which is ruled by Congress, said that the imposition of water cess does not involve any dispute regarding the interstate release of the quantum of water as the volume of water to be released to the neighboring state is not being affected.

The Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government said it has imposed a water cess on the usage of water utilized by various power generators to increase the revenue of the state.

It said that the burden on imposition of water cess imposed in BBMB’s projects shall be distributed amongst five states equally including Himachal Pradesh.

It also said that the share being provided by the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) of 7.19 percent is the right of the state which was decided by the Supreme Court given based on the proportion of the population.

The power being generated by BBMB projects utilizes the waters and land of State of Himachal Pradesh, the statement said.

“As such the State of HP has a right @7.19 in the power to be generated out of these projects. It can be concluded that statement with regard an additional financial burden amounting to Rs. 1200 crore per annum on the State of Punjab and violation of central Act i.e. Inter-State Water Disputes Act,1956 are not justifiable,” it said.

Imposition of water cess does not fall within section 7 of Inter-State Water Dispute Act,1956 as this does not create any dispute with regard availability of volume of water to the neighboring states, Himachal Pradesh government said.

The Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha had on March 16 passed the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Bill to repeal the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Ordinance, promulgated in February this year.


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