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Amidst Opposition Walkout: Sukhu Govt tables two legislations

Shimla, March 14

Amid Opposition walkout Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu tabled two ordinance in Himachal Pradesh Assembly promulgated recently by the government on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu tabled the HPMC ordinance to amend section 6 of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 provides that the number of total seats to be filled by direct election in a Municipal Corporation. He said that now Shimla MC should not exceed forty one and in each ward the population shall not be less than 2500. There are 05 Municipal Corporations namely; Shimla, Dharamshala, Mandi, Solan and Palampur in the State. Municipal Corporation Shimla having population 169578 is divided into 34 wards, Municipal Corporation Dharamshala having population 53543 is divided into 17 wards, Mandi having population 41375 is divided into 15 wards, Municipal Corporation Solan having population 47418 is divided into 17 wards and Municipal Corporation Palampur having population 40385 is divided into 15 wards, respectively. There is a need to reduce the maximum number of wards from existing 41 to 34 in the Municipal Corporation(s).  Municipal Corporation Shimla having the highest population and has an average population of 4987 per ward, appears to be ideal population for a ward, which is the basic administrative unit of SMC and to reduce it, further by creating new wards would create unnecessary administrative involvement and financial burden on the resources of SMC . Therefore, it would be appropriate to decrease the maximum number of wards from 41 to 34 in the SMCs. Deputy Chief  Minister Mukesh Agnihotri also tabled the ordinance to levy water cess on the hydropower project in the state. He said that the government is serious on the issue to create resource mobilization as the previous government left the state in lurch by increasing the whooping debt tune to Rs 75000 Crore. He said that he would greet the officers of this government as he signed this legislation at 2.09 am today. He said that the Government is already serious on the issue of resource mobilationsation as Rs 4000 Crore cess would be charged from the power projects. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukh also spoke on the legislation stating that the impression is being created that the cess would burden the common man but it would be levied on the power companies like BBMB, NHPC, NTPC, SJVNL who are not covered under its ambit so far. He said that provision of Rs. 4000 Cr. may fall short as some of the government run companies may plead for relaxation of the cess. He said that this government would come up with this serious exercise on the line similar provisions of Uttrakhand and Jammu and Kashmir as they have already levied water cess in both states.  Tabling the bill in the assembly Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said that Himachal Pradesh has been blessed with the immense water resources of five major rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Yamuna.  These rivers are endowed with immense water flow throughout the year which is being used for generation of hydropower.  Further, for proper water conservation and water management, the State is spending huge amount of money on environment and social impact mitigation.  The developmental activities in the vicinity of hydropower projects are increasing the livelihood of the concerned people.  Considerable potential has not been considered on hydropower development on this account of environmental and social aspects.  The State of Himachal Pradesh has very limited revenue generation resources and there always remain financial constraints in the State.  Hence, there is an urgent need to improve the revenue generation in the State through alternate revenue resources.  Flowing water in various rivers and its tributaries in the State can be useful source of revenue generation.  The neighboring State Uttrakhand and the Union Territory Jammu & Kashmir have already imposed the water cess on hydropower generation.  On the same logic the State Government has decided to introduce such policy and also opt to impose the water cess to increase the revenue of the State.  The water cess on hydropower generation will be imposed based on consumption of water and head available in the project, which is considered difference in the level at entry and exit of water conductor system.  At present 172 hydropower projects, with installed capacity of 10,991 MW, have been commissioned in the State.  In order to deal with the situation of serious financial constraints in the State, it has been decided to make provision to create additional financial resources by imposing water cess on hydropower generation.  He said that State has already made this provision in the legislation through ordinance and this bill seeks to replace the aforesaid ordinance with some modifications, he added.


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