Shimla: Aimed at higher revenue generation, the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Bill was introduced in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. The bill will repeal the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Ordinance, promulgated by the Governor on February 15.
Introducing the bill, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said it has been brought on the analogy of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, who have imposed water cess and it would be applicable to 172 hydropower projects with power generation of 10,991 MW, yielding annual revenue of about Rs 4,000 crore. Some people had moved the court against the bill in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, but the courts rejected their pleas, said Agnihotri, adding that the main purpose of the bill is to generate revenue.
The bill allows setting up the State Commission for Water Cess to discharge the functions under the Act and entails an annual expenditure of Rs 23 crore. The commission headed by the chief secretary would not have more than four members, who would have a tenure of three years, subject to the maximum age limit of 65 years.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the bill has been brought after serious considerations and implementing the Act is not an easy task and the government would take more steps to increase the revenue. Under the Act, no user shall draw water from any source for hydropower generation, except in accordance with law and pay water cess as fixed.
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