Himachal CM Sukhu meets Mann, clarifies on water cess issue
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Wednesday clarified that the water cess will be levied only on the hydropower plants within their own state adding that it will not be applicable in Punjab, according to a Punjab government statement.
Himachal Pradesh's neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana had last week claimed the cess imposed under the HP Water Cess on Hydro Power Generation Act, 2023 is in violation of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 and the state assemblies of the two states had also passed resolutions in this regard condemning the move.
During a meeting with Sukhu here, Punjab Chief Minister Mann expressed concern over HP's move on water cess issue, said the statement.
The Punjab government statement further said, ''However, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister clarified that the water cess will be levied only on the hydropower plants within their own state adding that it will not be applicable in Punjab.'' On the other hand, Sukhu clarified that the Act implemented by the Himachal Pradesh government does not violate any kind of inter-state treaties.
Sukhu told reporters here because of ''communication gap'', there were some misconceptions regarding water cess, which he clarified during the meeting he held with Mann when he called on him at the latter's residence over a breakfast here.
The Himachal Pradesh government is yet to work out modalities of this cess.
Sukhu said the water cess levied by Himachal Pradesh would be imposed on hydropower projects operating within the hill state and both Punjab and Haryana will not suffer any loss due to this cess.
However, with Punjab being one of the partnering states in Bhakra Beas Management Board, on the state's request to iron out certain issues, Sukhu said that a committee of Chief Secretary and Power Secretary of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab would be constituted.
He said Punjab does not have any hydro power project in HP, but it is a partner state in Bhakra Beas Management Board.
Himachal Pradesh had recently maintained that imposition of water cess does not involve any dispute regarding interstate release of quantum of water as the volume of water to be released to the neighbouring states is not affected.
Meanwhile, the Punjab statement said both the chief ministers agreed for mutual cooperation in various fields for benefitting the people of both the states.
Both said that Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have a common cultural heritage and share cordial relations since ages.
Mann batted for ropeway between Anandpur Sahib in Punjab and Naina Devi shrine in HP to mutually benefit the two states. He said that the ropeway will facilitate lakhs of devotees visiting these two historic and religious sites in a smooth and hassle-free manner.
Both the chief ministers agreed that the project will ease the travel of devotees visiting the two shrines, which were located quite far from each other, with hilly terrain compounding their problems.
The two chief ministers also agreed over setting up the Pathankot-Dalhousie ropeway project to boost tourism. They said that besides facilitating the tourists it will also help to boost the socio-economic development of both the states.
Both the leaders also stressed on the huge tourism potential in the region and said it was in the interest of both the states in the region to work collectively to boost tourism.
Mann recalled that as an artist during his days of youth he used to visit HP for various performances.
The Punjab chief minister also sought mutual cooperation between both states in the power sector too.
He said that Himachal Pradesh can sell excess power available with it to the state during peak season like the paddy season when the power demand is high in Punjab.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)