Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Virbhadra Singh has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of the state’s over 7 per cent share in projects under the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and demanded his intervention in expediting the payment of arrears in accordance with the verdict of the Supreme Court.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Virbhadra Singh said that the state had moved the apex court in 1996 to secure its claim of 7.19 per cent share on the basis of transferred population as provided under the Punjab State Re-Organisation Act. The court granted relief to the state by allowing 7.19 per cent share in power of all hydropower projects executed by the BBMB from the date of commissioning on September 27, 2011.
It also directed the Centre to work out the details of the amount to be paid to Himachal in lieu of the short supply all these years that would be charged to Punjab and Haryana along with 6 per cent interest from 1966 in case of Bhakra and from the date of commissioning in respect of the Beas I and II projects within six months to enable the court to make the final decree, he added.
Singh stated that the High Powered Committee headed by Joint Secretary (Hydropower) has conveyed to the state government that the amount of Rs 4,250 crore due as compensation to Himachal has been reduced to Rs 3,400 crore. He termed the deduction of Rs 850 crore as unacceptable. Singh claimed that the Centre has unilaterally cut the state’s share without taking Himachal into confidence and contrary to the judgment of SC.
Virbhadra Singh stated that the difference (Rs 850 crore) was just a notional amount arrived at by the central committee as due to the Centre on its share in the Pong Dam. Singh claimed that Himachal had no liability to pay this amount of Rs 850 crore. The water of the Pong Dam was used for irrigation by Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, while 1,50,000 Himachalis were uprooted from their homes and had to pay a heavy price in terms of human suffering. Many of the uprooted oustees were still awaiting rehabilitation.
Virbhadra in his letter stated that the compensation amount of Rs 4,250 crore was payable to the state as the apex court had already turned down the plea of Punjab and Haryana and requested the Centre to accept Himachal’s share and release entire amount of the claim.