Shimla: Himachal High Court has issued notices to the Government of India, States of Punjab and Haryana and Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd., in a matter related to handing over the Shanan Hydro Electric Project to Himachal Pradesh and providing free electricity to general public.
A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara, passed these orders on a petition filed by Laxmender Singh of Mandi, who has alleged that the British Government of India proposed a project in order to supply the electricity to Punjab and an agreement was executed between the British Government of India and the erstwhile State of Mandi (Darbar) for construction of Uhl River Hydro Electric Project.
The petitioner has prayed for quashing the agreements and notifications of the Government of India and for directing the respondent authorities to hand over the Uhal River Hydro Electric Project (now Shanan Power House PSPCL) Jogindernagar to Himachal.
He has also prayed that the respondents may be directed to provide free electricity to the general public of Mandi town and to pay the whole income of the said project to the Himachal and its people.
According to the said agreement, it was agreed that the Mandi State will provide the land and water of Uhl river for the Hydro Electric Project and labour also and the Mandi state will be supplied 500 KW free electricity from the project.
It was also agreed that high tension line will be installed from the project to Mandi state and Power House will be constructed which will be maintained by the Mandi state and subsequent agreement dated 26 December, 1935 was also executed between the parties qua the supply of free electricity.
He has further alleged that prior to freedom of India, the said project was in the territory of the then Mandi state and after independence, the said project exists in district Mandi which falls in the territory of Himachal Pradesh, but from 15 August, 1947 till 9 April, 1965, the Punjab State occupied the above mentioned project without any justification, whereas the said project belongs to the state of Himachal Pradesh and its general public, since the same is in the territory of Himachal Pradesh and is being run with the water of Himachal Pradesh.
He has further alleged that in the year 1965 and 1975, agreements were executed and notification was issued in favour of Punjab Electricity Board qua the project, but the interest of State of HP and its public was not taken into consideration by the GOI, which is not sustainable in the eyes of law.
The petitioner has also alleged that Himachal is a small state, having very limited income sources and the income of the said project is more than 100 crore per year.
If the said project is handed over to Himachal, it will strengthen the economy of the state.
The Court also directed the respondents to file replies within four weeks.