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Posted at: Jan 5, 2018, 12:06 AM; last updated: Jan 5, 2018, 12:06 AM (IST)

Cabinet to settle power arrears with Punjab

Cabinet to settle power arrears with Punjab
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur at the Cabinet meeting in Shimla on Thursday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 4

The Cabinet on Thursday approved settling over half a century old electricity arrears with Punjab in Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) projects in compliance with a Supreme Court orderof September 27, 2011, in terms of differential energy return.

The government has decided to accept Punjab’s settlement offer on the arrears by selling 13,066 million units of power which will fetch Rs 3,266 crore to the hill state over 10 to 12 years.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet at its meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, held here. Himachal had sought Rs 4,200 crore as arrears from Punjab but the arrears were yet to be paid. Though Punjab had kept the term period for returning power over 20 years, the Cabinet has agreed to 10 to 12 years. The differential energy quantum of 13,066 million units will fetch Rs 3,266 crore to the state by selling power at a rate of Rs 2.50 per unit.

Himachal will go in for return of power with premium of 6 per cent and with no further additional liability for receiving this differential energy of 13,066 million units. The Cabinet agreed and approved the proposal of Punjab and Haryana to return differential power during October 1 to March 31 owing to their constraints of paddy harvest season and also the requirement of Himachal during winter months.

It gave its approval to the Governor’s address to be delivered during the first session of the Vidhan Sabha at Dharamsala from January 9. In a significant move, the Cabinet reviewed the decision taken by the Congress regime at a meeting held on August 5, 2017, regarding withdrawing benefits given to ex-servicemen in the Himachal Government services. The decision of deletion of Rule-5 (1) of the Demobilised Armed Forces Personnel (Reservation of Vacancies in Himachal State Non Technical Services) Rules, 1972 and Rule -5 (1) of the Ex-Servicemen (Reservation of Vacancies in Himachal Pradesh Technical Services) Rules 1985 was reviewed to restore benefits to the extent of pay fixation in civil employment to the ex-servicemen.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fell a few trees on private land transferred/ acquired by the National Highways Authority of India for the construction of four-laning of NH-22 from Kandaghat to Kaithlighat in relaxation of the ban imposed by the government on felling of trees.

The Cabinet decided to execute work on the widening of the Theog-Kotkhai-Kharapathar road.

A detailed presentation on state financial resources was also made by the Secretary Finance. Liabilities due to reckless opening of government institutions during the previous government were also discussed. Suggestions were invited for expenditure compression, besides the Cabinet directed for quality of works and services, timely completion of projects without time and cost overrun.

Govt invites suggestions on Budget 

The state government has invited suggestions from the general public, industry, trade and farmer associations on the Budget. It has started the formulation of the Budget for 2018-19. In order to make the Budget more people centric, participative and reflective of the views of various stakeholders in the society, suggestions have been invited. A spokesperson of the state government said the suggestions could be sent by e-mail to web portal of the Finance Budget or by letter to the office of Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) by February 10, 2018. The suggestions can be provided on increasing revenue receipt, expenditure control and other related matters. It will promote transparency, openness, responsiveness and participatory approach in the Budget preparation.

Decision on Kullu temple reversed

Reversing the decision of the prior Congress regime, the Cabinet decided to exclude Raghunath temple in Kullu from Schedule-I of the Hindu Public Religious Institution and Charitable Endowment Act 1984. With today’s decision, the temple will now not be under the government control. Scion of the erstwhile Kullu royal family and former MLA Maheshwar Singh had challenged the matter in the court. 


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