Day 2 photo of the Assembly budget Session 2023. Photo used for indicative purpose only

Shimla, March 23- Issue of water cess by Punjab and Haryana govts, not logical: HP CM

The matter of Water Cess on Hydro Power Generation Act-2023 being raised in the neighboring state(s) is not logical because Himachal Pradesh is not the first state in the country to impose a cess on the water used for the projects. Prior to this, Water Cess Act has been passed by the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand in 2013 and Jammu and Kashmir in 2010, stated Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, in a statement on the floor of the house.
He said that it would also be fair to say that in case of limited sources of income with the hilly states, the state has every right to increase its sources of income. On this lines, other neighboring states like Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir have already implemented Water Cess Act. From which the state is getting income, so it is wrong to say that the state does not have the right to impose Water Cess on its water sources, he added.
“As per the constitutional provision, water is a state subject and the state has rights over its water resources,” he stated. Adding,” Further, Himachal Pradesh recognizes the Indus Water Treaty, 1960 and the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydro Electricity Generation Act, 2023 promulgated by the Government of Himachal Pradesh does not violate any provision of the said treaty.” Sukhu said that a water cess has been imposed on the use of water by the state as it has every right to levy a cess on the use of water; water is a state subject.
Sukhu added that, ” I also want to bring to notice that about 45000 hectare land of the state was submerged by the reservoirs of three projects of BBMB in the state.” Adding that in Himachal Pradesh, the state does not have any right over the water from the reservoirs created by these projects, but the adverse environmental impacts of these reservoirs are being faced by the state of Himachal since decades. Be it local climate change, adverse changes in agriculture and horticulture, facing health problems, social and economic changes, all these changes have affected the reservoirs of these projects. Has badly affected human life, informed the CM.
It is noteworthy that B.B.M.B., etc, have not  taken the necessary steps to address all these issues and the local population has been left to fend for themselves. These reservoirs have not only swallowed agricultural and horticultural land, obstructed the means of transport, water sources have been submerged, religious places and cremation grounds have been submerged, but the rehabilitation of the displaced people who were destroyed 50-60 years ago could not be completed, till date alleged the CM on the floor of the house.
Earlier both Governments of Punjab and Haryana, had moved moved a resolution in their house, regarding levy of water cess by the HP government. The Punjab government has stated that this cess would add an additional burden on their government exchequer.


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