Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has welcomed the decision of the Union Government to waive off the prerequisite of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for using waters from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) projects for irrigation and drinking water purpose. This has been possible due to the persistent efforts of Chief Minister to fight for and to get back its rightful share in favour of the state. Earlier, to utilise the waters of BBMB projects, the State had to obtain NOC after undergoing many formalities, adversely affecting the interests of the people of the State.
While applauding this catalyst decision, Chief Minister said “We never backed from advocating state’s rights in a just manner. So far, various projects were utilizing the natural resources of the state without paying much heed to the concerns and welfare of its citizens. The State has always contributed in the overall development of the country and have cordial relationships with other states, but Himachal should not be deprived of its legitimate rights. We will continue the crusade for state’s dividends further.” he said.
The state government has demanded increased royalty in hydel projects. The state was not provided free power as royalty, in BBMB projects, which include Bhakra Dam project, Beas Satluj link and Pong dam project. The State is only getting 7.19 percent share of electricity in these BBMB projects, which is not sufficient enough.
Similarly, Himachal Pradesh is entitled to free power at the rate of 12 percent only in Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) commissioned projects. The period of contract is also not fixed in these projects. State had strongly presented its case with the Centre Government for an increased percentage of free power and limiting the contract time to 40 years. The projects will be transferred to the state after the set term.
The state government has set its eye on reclaiming Himachal’s rights especially in hydel power projects. The discussion regarding these demands was held with Union Power Minister, R.K. Singh on his state tour recently by the Chief Minister as well. With the Centre government’s positive response, the state is awaiting more favourable decisions.