Punjab opposes Rajasthan's demand to be made BBMB member
Opposing the demand of Rajasthan to be a member of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday raised issues of the state during the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah here.
Amritsar, Sep 26 (IANS) Opposing the demand of Rajasthan to be a member of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday raised issues of the state during the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah here.
Thanking the Ministry of Home Affairs for choosing this city to organise the meeting, he said this is a sacred city that is revered by one and all where over one lakh devotees from all over the world pay homage daily to seek peace and solace.
Mann said the city was a trade hub in the past and with the concerted efforts of the state government, it will soon be the gateway to markets of Central Asia and beyond. He said besides being the nation’s food bowl, Punjab also has a distinction of being the sword arm of the country and its people are well known all over the world for their courage, resilience and spirit of enterprise.
He said the Northern Zonal Council is an excellent platform to raise the level of interstate cooperation for economic development as it is in "our interest to sit together and explore the best possibilities of socio-economic development in the region, which is otherwise geographically disadvantaged, being landlocked and with hostile borders".
Batting for need of a genuine federal structure in the country, the Chief Minister said the need of more financial arid political power to the states has been felt across the entire spectrum of political opinion.
Opposing the demand of Rajasthan for membership in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), he said the BBMB is a body constituted under the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, which primarily deals with the successor states of Punjab and Haryana, and Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh or any other state for that matter is not concerned at all under provisions of this Act.
Mann opposed the proposal of having a third member in the BBMB either from Rajasthan or Himachal Pradesh.
Flagging the issue of Shanan Power House, he lamented the issue that has been unnecessarily raised by Himachal Pradesh regarding its transfer on the ground that the 99-year lease of land given by the ruler of Mandi in 1925 is expiring in 2024. He said it is sad that this issue has been raised notwithstanding that this project was given to Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) under the provisions of Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, which is the Act of Parliament that created the successor states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Mann said the Act entrusted the ownership and control of downstream Bassi Power House (Uhl Hydel Project Stage 2) to the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board and the position has been scrupulously maintained as unalterable by the Centre for over half a century. He further said the PSEB undertook expansion of the project at its own cost from 1975 to 1982 enhancing its capacity from 48 MW to 110 MW. Mann hoped the Centre will uphold the correct legal position as any other stand taken with respect to the ownership of Shanan Power House would be ultra vires of the Act and also constitute great injustice to Punjab and its people.
He also opposed the move to fill posts of members of Irrigation and Power in the BBMB on a direct basis through open recruitment. He said the Ministry of Power has on February 23, 2022, notified BBMB (Amendment) Rules by which the posts of member of Irrigation and Power will be filled on a direct basis through open recruitment.
On the demand of Rajasthan to maintain full level of Pong and Bhakra dams, the Chief Minister said technically when both these dams were designed, the original height of the Bhakra dam was 1,685 ft and that of Pong Dam was 1,400 ft. He said during 1988 Punjab faced severe floods and then a decision was taken by the Centre that the flood level of both the dams be reduced by five feet and 10 feet, respectively. Mann pointed out that no flood waters of Sutlej or Beas rivers flow to Haryana or Rajasthan or to any other state due to which Punjab had to face all damage caused by floods in 1988 and 2019 and the most recent a month back too.