Additional share in BBMB to meet Himachal’s winter power shortage

Shimla: With the Supreme Court having directed that Himachal be released 7.19% share in the BBMB project from 1st November, 2011, the extra availability of power would offset some of the shortages that the hill state suffers from during winter months.

Bhakra Dam and Reservoir

With the Supreme court order having settled Himachal’s entitlement in Bhakra project at 6.095%, in Dehar project at 5.752% percent and in Pong Dam project at 2.984 percent, the state’s share would go up substantially from the 2.5 percent it was getting from Bhakra project and the 15 MW power it was able to get after 1978 from Dehar project.

The additional power would enable the state to meet much of its winter shortages from this year itself, said Deepak Sanan, principal secretary power.

Primarily being a hydropower producing state, Himachal meets its heavy winter heating demands by purchasing energy thorough power banking or buy at spot prices, say HPSEB engineers.

Power ministry officials were busy through the day computing the arrears that the state expected as a windfall as an outcome of the judgment. The judgment would add about 500 million units of additional power to the states kitty, said a senior officer.

“With the state entitled to dues from 1966 onwards in Bhakra project for the shortfall in power supplied that was due as states share and from commissioning date in the other two projects, with a 6 percent interest rate applied, the amount would be substantial,” he said.

With the division bench of Justice RV Raveendran and Justice AK Patnaik rejecting the states plea for 12 % royalty from the home state where these projects are located, there was disappointment in some quarters.

The judges had also rejected the Himachal government contention about an unsigned agreement with Punjab province and the erstwhile princely state of Bilaspur for construction of Bhakra dam under certain conditionalities which included payment of royalties for generation of power.

1950 - Work in progress at Bhakra dam project

The court observed that draft agreement of 7.7.1948 about allocation of power to Bilaspur state was not executed on behalf of the parties and could not be basis of allocation of power to Himahcal Pradesh as a successor state as the only agreement that could be considered was the Bilaspur Merger Agreement with Union of India done on 15.8.1948.

Documents place before the courts also recorded that for construction of the Bhakra dam a total of 1,03,425 acres of land was submerged, for constructing the Beas – Satluj link project 33,240 acres and for Pong Dam project a total of 65,050 acres of land was submerged.

With the Bhakra reservoir located mostly in Bilaspur state the on merger has become a district in Himachal Pradesh, a total of 27,869 acres of land out of a total of 41,600 acres was submerged by the largest project of its kind then in the country.

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  1. says: Bhugol Chandel

    This is a good start. However, it took long time for our legal system to give this long awaited and justified relief.

    Next Himachal Pradesh should take matters like expansion of Railways and Airports in the state to take pressure off the roads and to provide alternative means to connect border areas.

    Railway expansion would be of great help in moving agricultural and horticultural produce from the state to the markets in Chandigarh, Delhi and Mumbai etc. along with ease to move industrial products from Himachal and cutting freight charges.

    This would do a great service in preserving the deteriorating condition of the roads and the environment in the state.

  2. says: PradeepR

    It may be uncharitable to taunt a vanquished adversary, but lesson it drives homes for Punjab and Haryana states is that they should have seen it coming. Supremne Court has asserted its impartialty, power, and relevance in federal structure better than any government so far. Even if SC wasn’t there, some fairplay should have prevailed on both states to avoid a fiscal shock to the state crying for a reprieve from its corrupt political lords and masters.
    However, on HP’s part, it remains to be seen when this euphoria gives way to fiscal prudence by the way of consolidating this windfall. There is a long way to go, still, for the state to prove it is not another Uttrakhand.

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