‘No water right violation to other states,’ HP CM


Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has stated that none of the provisions of the Water Cess Act passed by the state violate the water rights of neighbouring states. He reassured the House that the Act does not violate the provisions of the Inter-State River Dispute Act-1956 or any other MoU and that the Ordinance will not affect legitimate rights. Sukhu also clarified that the water cess is levied on water used by established hydropower projects and not on water flowing across neighbouring state borders.
The remarks came after the Government of Punjab and Haryana raised an objection to the Water Cess Act-2023 brought by the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Sukhu responded by saying that the Water Cess on Hydro Power Generation Act 2023 does not violate any inter-state treaties, nor does it violate the provisions of the Indus water treaty. Sukhu highlighted the adverse environmental impact of the reservoirs created by three projects of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) in the state. He expressed concern over the rehabilitation of displaced people who were affected by the projects 50-60 years ago and stated that the imposition of the water cess is under the jurisdiction of the state.
The Chief Minister further stated that water is a state subject and the state has rights over its water resources. He reassured the House that 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 Indus Water Treaty, 1960. He added that the imposition of water cess neither affects the release of water to neighbouring states nor does it change the flow pattern of the rivers.