Himachal claims ‘7.19% stake’ in Bhakra-Nangal and Beas projects amid tussle with Punjab, Chandigarh

Both these decisions were taken in a meeting on Monday.

The Punjab Reorganization Act oversaw the formation of Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, as well as the transfer of the hill region from Punjab to Himachal Pradesh.

The Act calls for the transfer of assets and liabilities to the successor states in proportion to the population ratio distributed among them at the time of reorganization.

KS Subramaniam, former chairman of Central Electrical, said that since 7.19 percent of Punjab’s population was transferred to Himachal Pradesh under the 1966 Act at that time, Himachal Pradesh was entitled to get 7.19 percent of the total power generated by the Bhakra-Nangal and Beas projects. is entitled Authority, in a report dated 29 June 1979.

For the past six decades, Himachal chief ministers have been demanding a share in BBMB projects.

The issue causes latest tug-of-war between Himachal and Punjab, after the former’s bid Shannan Power House Claims – is currently leased to Punjab – and water cess It also seeks to put pressure on hydropower projects in the state, which Punjab and Haryana say will make electricity costlier for their consumers.

Himachal Agriculture Minister Kumar said, “We are not asking for anything extra. Our share, which is 7.19 per cent, was fixed at the time of reorganization in 1966. It is still pending and we are only demanding to settle it. nothing more nothing less.”

ThePrint reached Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Sharma over phone for comment, but there was no response till the time of publishing this report.

A senior Punjab civil servant, who did not wish to be named, acknowledged Himachal’s dues with regard to the BBMB, but dismissed its bid to stake claim to Chandigarh as a pressure tactic.

Both the Punjab-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress are allies under the new opposition alliance, which is set to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

However, Himachal’s purported claim on Chandigarh has been rejected even by Sukhu’s Congress allies in Punjab.

Read also: Six months in, Sukhu-led Congress government in Himachal faces dire financial scenario

Chandigarh claims in Bhakra, Beas projects

Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi and Industries Minister Harshvardhan Singh Chauhan are also members of the Himachal cabinet sub-committee.

Elaborating on Himachal Pradesh’s claim, Minister Kumar said that Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganization Act read as follows: “The rights of the successor states in respect of the Bhakra-Nangal and Beas projects shall be subject to the succession of the entire State of Punjab on reorganization. Reason is right. of the entire State of Punjab.”

He also cited the 2011 Supreme Court judgement, which upheld Himachal Pradesh’s right to 7.19 per cent of the electricity generated by BBMB. Himachal had moved the court in 1996.

However, the dues of this share, 13,066 million units of electricity calculated since 1966, are still pending, Kumar claimed.

“Following the Supreme Court judgement, Punjab suggested paying compensation in the form of free power for 30 years. The dues are around Rs 4,237 crore,” said Kumar, adding that Himachal Pradesh is not agreeable to the proposal.

A senior civil servant of the Punjab government said that the demand for Himachal’s share in Chandigarh’s territory was a ploy to pressurize Punjab to pay 7.19 per cent share in BBMB profits.

“Himachal won the case and got 7.19 per cent rights in BBMB projects besides a huge dues – which Punjab is not in a position to settle,” the official said. “Himachal is pressurizing Punjab to settle its rights declared by SC by raising demand for equal share in UT – which was a property created out of Punjab reorganisation.”

political choice

According to sources in the Himachal government, the matter has been further complicated by the fact that both the AAP and the Congress are part of the new opposition alliance.

Asked whether this could help Himachal resolve its issues with Punjab more easily, Kumar said, “We are talking about the rights of Himachal Pradesh. We have a law, the Supreme Court gives judgments in our favor. Whoever is in power has to follow it, irrespective of their political position.”

However, the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh is facing opposition from party allies in Punjab over its claim on Chandigarh.

Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Pratap Singh Bajwa told the media on July 2 that not even an inch of Chandigarh would go to Himachal or Haryana.

“I will oppose it along with the state unit of the Congress party,” he said after Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann asked him to clarify the party’s stand on Himachal’s claim on the UT.

Mann had told the media in June that “Chandigarh is, is and always will be an integral part of the state (Punjab)”.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Read also: ‘Will bring jobs and revenue’ – Himachal MLA panel to study legalizing cannabis cultivation