Centre raps state for Renuka project delay

NEW DELHI: The Centre today blamed the Himachal Government for the delay in the implementation of the Rs 6,000 crore Renuka Dam project, contending that the state had failed to take approval from the erstwhile Planning Commission.

editorial@tribune.com

R Sedhuraman

New Delhi, July 20

The Centre today blamed the Himachal Government for the delay in the implementation of the Rs 6,000 crore Renuka Dam project, contending that the state had failed to take approval from the erstwhile Planning Commission.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur that the Centre was unable to meet the state’s demand for Rs 1,981 crore as the first instalment for the construction of the project in the absence of the financial approval.

Appearing for the state, senior advocate JS Attri said funds were required to pay compensation to farmers whose lands were acquired for the project. Some land acquisitions would lapse soon unless the compensation was paid as directed by the Himachal High Court, he pleaded.

The Bench told the state not to worry about the compensation as the dam had been declared as a national project.

Nevertheless, the Bench asked the state to file its response within four weeks to the Centre’s contention that the state government should take the approval of the Union Water Resources Ministry for the project as the Planning Commission stood scrapped.

Attri pleaded that though the proposed dam across the Yamuna had become a national project and would come up with 90 per cent funding from the Centre, the state had interest as it would get 40 mw of electricity from the project free of cost.

On July 9, the SC had issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi Government on the state’s petition seeking Rs 1,981 crore to be paid to farmers for meeting the project cost. The Delhi Government has not filed its response so far.

HP had already acquired land for the project at over Rs 200 crore and paid part of the compensation amount to farmers on the directive of the High Court. It had come to the SC as it was not in a position to pay further compensation to comply with another HC order passed on November 20, 2014.

Besides generation of electricity, the dam was meant for supplying water to Delhi as per the national capital’s entitlement from the Yamuna. The pipeline from the dam to Delhi could also be utilised for sharing the Yamuna waters with other riparian states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

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