Chandigarh: Protesting against the recently introduced Water Cess by the Himachal Pradesh Government on the hydropower projects for non-consumptive use of water for power generation, the Punjab Government termed the move of the neighbouring state illegal and on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution against the ordinance.
Moving the resolution, Punjab Minister for Water Resources Gurmeet Singh said claimed that Himachal’s Water Cess would put a financial burden amounting to Rs 1200 crore per annum on Punjab.
The resolution says, “This House is concerned about the ordinance issued by the Himachal Pradesh government to impose water cess on the hydropower projects for non-consumptive use of water for power generation. The Himachal Pradesh state’s water resources are now the government’s property, while any proprietary, riparian, or usage rights with any individual, group, company, corporation, society, or community are deemed to have been terminated. The House acknowledges and recognises the right of the state of Punjab over the use of waters flowing into the state for all purposes. All the BBMB projects which have since been constructed with an investment made by the state of Punjab, largely happen to be situated within the territorial jurisdiction of the state of Himachal Pradesh. With this new levy of water cess, the Government of Himachal Pradesh is trying to put an avoidable tax burden on Punjab as it is evident from the objective of the ordinance. Punjab is under pressure from all the neighbouring states, whether it is the demand for the additional share of the river waters or the levy of cess recently by Himachal Pradesh. With this new levy, there is an additional financial burden amounting to Rs 1,200 crore per annum, of which a major burden is likely to be on Punjab. This new levy is not only the infringement of the exclusive rights of the state over its natural resources but will also result in additional financial burden for generation of power resulting in the higher cost of generation of electricity.”
Demanding immediate withdrawal of ‘Water Cess,’ the Punjab Government termed Himachal’s decision against the provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 and also urged the Union Government to intervene and direct the Himachal government to withdraw the ordinance.