Dehradun: Taking cue from the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Uttarakhand government is planning to collect tax on the water being used in various hydro-power projects in the state.
According to the Irrigation department, the government will collect revenue of Rs 1,700 crore after implementing the plan .

In this regard, many meetings have been held by the sub-committee of the Cabinet that was constituted to increase the financial resources. In the first meeting Water Resources Minister Prakash Pant had suggested to put tax on the water that is being used in various hydro power projects in the state.

During these meetings, it was highlighted that the J&K government is collecting a tax of .25 paisa per cubic meter water. It was also decided that the sub-committee would be studying the act implemented by the J&K government and would take necessary steps in this regard.

In the high-level meeting held in-order to increase the flow of revenue of the government under the leadership of Chief Secretary, Irrigation Secretary Dr Umakant Panwar said that taking into consideration the present condition of hydro power projects the government can collect revenue of Rs 1,700 crore after the concept is introduced. 

Meanwhile, an agreement with Uttar Pradesh and two private companies are proving as hindrance in the implementation this step.

According to a tri-party agreement among Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Jaiprakash Power venture limited over Vishnu Priya project in 2003, the Uttarakhand government had agreed not to claim any type of royalty, duty or cess on the use of water in the ‘Run of the River’ project. It was mentioned in clause 25 (A) of the agreement.

The same condition was again promised by Uttarakhand in the Srinagar project between UP and Alaknanda hydro power Company and which had a mention in the clause 13.1.

Significantly, both the agreements were done in a time span of three years and were not even objected by the Opposition and the ruling party.  During this agreement, the state government even overlooked the fact that this step would have yielded good amount of source.

There are many Central agencies and private companies which are producing hydro electricity and many are under work in progress or to be proposed.

In his defence, Irrigation Secretary Dr Umakant Panwar says that these agreements are not above the law of the state and if required these agreements can even be put on hold.

JPN/Bureau