The Vidhan Sabha passed the Himachal Pradesh Electricity (Taxation and Generation) Bill that empowered state government to impose tax on hydroelectric energy. As Himachal has very little resources to raise money for the development work such taxes will help to make state self reliant.
It provides for taxing hydroelectric generation at the rate of 25 paisa per unit of energy to help raise a revenue of Rs 675 crore annually. Leader of the opposition Vidya Stokes pointed that a similar Bill was passed in 1995 but it turned out to be a futile exercise as the President of the India withheld the assent to it. Power was on the Concurrent List and any such law could not be implemented without the consent of the Centre. Kaul Singh said the assent was not granted as other states opposed it. States like Punjab and Haryana not only opposed the Bill but also the grant of industrial package to the state.
Chief Minister PK Dhumal said under Article 288 (2) of the Constitution of India, the special category states can impose tax to raise resources and even the Rangarajan Committee had made a positive recommendation in this regard. He appealed to the Congress to not only lend support to the Bill but also join hands with the government to put pressure on the Centre so that it became a law.