Punjab moves Supreme Court against Himachal Pradesh’s attempt to take control of Shanan Hydropower Project : The Tribune India

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Punjab moves Supreme Court against Himachal Pradesh’s attempt to take control of Shanan Hydropower Project

The 99-year lease for Shanan Hydropower Project situated in Himachal Pradesh is expiring this month

Punjab moves Supreme Court against Himachal Pradesh’s attempt to take control of Shanan Hydropower Project

The 99-year lease for Shanan Hydropower Project expires this month.



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, March 1

The Punjab government on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking an urgent hearing of its suit against the Himachal Pradesh government’s attempt to take control of Shanan Hydropower Project from the Punjab government on the expiry of a 99-year lease that expires this month.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud agreed to take up the matter on Monday after advocate Shadan Farasat mentioned the Punjab government’s plea for urgent listing.

Farasat said the 99-year lease for Shanan Hydropower Project was expiring and if the matter was not taken up urgently, the Himachal Pradesh government would take over the project.

The British-era Shanan hydropower project at Jogindernagar, 40 km from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, was constructed in 1925 under the lease executed between Raja Joginder Sen, the ruler of the then Mandi state, and Col BC Batty, a British representative.

The project – which used to feed the undivided Punjab, Lahore and Delhi before Independence -- is said to be in a poor condition as the Punjab government allegedly stopped the repair and maintenance work.

The Punjab government has filed an original suit against the Himachal Pradesh government and the Centre under Article 131 of the Constitution which deals with original jurisdiction of the top court in a dispute between the Centre and one or more states or a dispute between two or more states.

Contending that it was the owner and was in lawful possession of Shanan Power House Project and its Extension Project along with all assets currently under formative control of the Punjab government through Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL), the erstwhile PSEB, the Punjab government has sought a "permanent Prohibitory Injunction" restraining the Himachal Pradesh government from disturbing the lawful peaceful possession and smooth functioning over the project.

The Punjab government also urged the top court to issue a "mandatory injunction" directing the Himachal Pradesh government not to depute any officer or team of officers to take over the project from its management and control.

During his recent visit to Delhi, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had raised the issue with the Centre and demanded immediate transfer of the project to Himachal Pradesh before its condition went from bad to worse.

Since the Shanan Power House was situated in Himachal’s territory, the state had full rights on this project, Sukhu had said. After the reorganisation of the state in 1966, injustice was done to Himachal Pradesh when the project was given to Punjab as at that time Himachal Pradesh was a Union Territory, he had said.

 

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