Himachal Assembly passes Bill for water cess on hydropower projects : The Tribune India

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Himachal Assembly passes Bill for water cess on hydropower projects

Himachal Assembly passes Bill for water cess on hydropower projects

Picture for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 16

The Vidhan Sabha today passed the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Bill (2023) amid reservations expressed by the Opposition that the government exhibited haste and did not consult experts.

Thakur: Will hit generation

  • Sukhu said he would consider giving relief to small hydropower projects owned by Himachalis
  • He said 200 MW of solar power would be generated to tide over shortage, especially during winter
  • The cess would generate Rs 4,000 crore from 172 hydroelectric projects, said Mukesh Agnihotri
  • Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said the imposition of cess could adversely impact hydropower generation

The Bill was debated and passed by the House after minor amendments to widen the scope of the appointment of the Chairman and the Members of the HP State Commission for Water Cess, as suggested by the Opposition.

Jal Shakti Department Minister Mukesh Agnihotri sought the cooperation of the Opposition in generating additional revenue. “This is a state subject. We are empowered to impose the cess, which will generate Rs 4,000 crore revenue from 172 hydroelectric projects,” he claimed.

Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said that the effort to generate resources was good but the imposition of the cess could adversely impact hydropower generation in the state. “It appears that the Bill has been prepared in a haste. The Budget session was nearing but an Ordinance was issued in this regard,” he added.

Naina Devi MLA Randhir Sharma and Bilaspur MLA Trilok Jamwal said that the burden of the cess would eventually be passed on to the consumers. “We do not doubt the intentions of the government but the Bill should not be passed in a haste, leaving grey areas. Moreover, small projects of below 5 MW capacity, especially those being operated by Himachalis, must be kept out of the purview of the Act,” Sharma urged the government.

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