Chandigarh, Mar 15 (PTI) Ruling Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab unit on Wednesday hit out at the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh for proposing the imposition of water cess on hydropower generation in the hill state.
The AAP asked the Punjab Congress leadership to pressurise its party-led government in the neighbouring state "to rollback this anti-Punjab decision at once".
AAP's state chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang, along with spokesperson Neel Garg and Gobinder Mittal, condemned the move of the Congress government and said "the anti-Punjab stand of Punjab Congress leadership has once again been exposed with this decision".
Aimed at higher revenue generation, the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Bill was introduced in the state Assembly on Tuesday.
According to a party statement, the AAP leaders said "as the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and Punjab State Power Corporation Limited's (PSPCL) hydro projects are in the hill state and will also come under its purview, the proposed bill will put an additional financial burden on Punjab, which is already struggling to bring its economy back on track from the financial mess created by the previous governments".
Castigating Punjab's Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira and other state leadership for their "silence on this anti-Punjab issue", AAP leaders said, "this attitude of Punjab leaders have once again made it clear that Congress always worked to weaken the interests of Punjab".
The Bill will repeal the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Ordinance, promulgated by the Governor on February 15, 2023.
Introducing the Bill, HP Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said it has been brought on the analogy of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, who have imposed water cess and it would be applicable to 172 hydropower projects with power generation of 10,991 MW, yielding annual revenue of about Rs 4,000 crore.
Under the provisions of the Act, no user shall draw water from any source for hydropower generation, except in accordance with law and pay water cess as fixed. PTI SUN RHL