While nearly fifty years have elapsed since hilly areas of Punjab were merged into Himachal under Reorganization of State in 1966, Himachal is still struggling to get the dues awarded under the Reorganization Act – 1966 from the Punjab government, despite the Supreme Court directions and efforts of Himachal Pradesh government.
Himachal Pradesh was to get financial benefits under the Reorganization of State Acts 1966, after merger of hilly areas of Punjab i.e. Una, part of Kangra, Kullu, Solan and Shimla etc into Himachal.
Under this Act, all states, i.e. Punjab, Haryana and Himachal were to share benefits proportional to natural resources based in their states after the reorganization.
Himachal Pradesh was to get its share in every hydro power project based in Himachal Pradesh, besides 7.19 percent share in Chandigarh. However, Himachal’s claim of 7.19 percent share in Chandigarh was pushed to background after Rajiv Gandhi – Longowal accord.
Since Himachal Pradesh also did not get its share in major hydro power projects i.e. in 1325 Megawatt Bhakhra Power Project and 990 Megawatt Dehar power project being managed by Bhakra Beas Management Board, the opposition parties had also launched an agitation on this issue in 1980’s, besides submitting memorandum to the President of India and the Prime Minister.
Later, CPM had also moved the Supreme Court of India but meanwhile Virbhadra Singh government also filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court to get the state’s share.
The Supreme Court in its interim order had awarded 15 percent share in power generated in Dehar Power Project and 0.5 Megawatts in Bhakra Power Project. In its final order the Supreme Court had awarded 7.19 percent share of Himachal in all power projects and about Rs 4500 crores in lieu of pending arrears but the Punjab government showed its inability to implement the award.
CPM leader and Theog MLA Rakesh Singha, who has been taking up this demand for long, says, “In view of denial to levy cess on hydro power generation, complete ban on felling of trees by the Supreme court denying benefits of forest wealth, with debt burden of over Rs 49000 crores on the state, the state government should seek the Central government’s help in getting the dues.”
Congress leader Kul Rakesh Pant has also urged Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to convene an all party meeting to pursue this demand.
Sources said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has been trying to get the dues with the intervention of the Central government.