Punjab CM & Himachal CM pledge to resolve inter-state issues

Chandigarh: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday pledged to resolve pending issues including the issue of water cess on the hydropower projects announced by the Himachal government recently. The announcement was made by the two chief ministers during a joint press conference at CM Mann’s residence in Chandigarh.

Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu held a meeting at CM Mann’s residence where he arrived for breakfast at 9:30 AM today on the latter’s invitation. Speaking at the press conference, CM Mann said that they will mutually resolve the pending issues between the two states including the water cess issue, Anandpur Sahib-Nayanadevi ropeway project and payment of Himachal’s pending share in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).

After the meeting with Punjab CM, Chief Minister Sukhu said that on the request of CM Bhagwant Mann, he has decided to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to study the water cess issue. He said that due to communication gap, some rumors are doing the rounds regarding the matter. Sukhu had on Thursday said that the state had every right to impose water cess on the hydropwer projects in the state.

Sukhu said that the state was bearing the brunt of the hydropower projects as the reservoirs of three projects of the BBMP had submerged 45000 hectares of land in Himachal adding the levying of the cess did not violate any law. After meeting with Punjab CM today, Sukhu said that the Himachal government has imposed water cess on 177 power projects in the state adding Punjab does not have any hydro project in Himachal, but the issue has arisen because of the BBMB projects.

He reiterated that Punjab and Haryana will not be affected due to water cess imposed by his government. Besides the water cess row, CM Mann and CM Sukhu also pledged to expedite work on the Anandpur Sahib-Nayanadevi and the Pathankot-Dalhousie ropeway projects. The two CMs also discussed the prevailing political situation in the country in the backdrop of disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as MP.

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