Chandigarh, 9 April 2012. The Union ministry of power has sought details from Bhakra Beas Management Board to work out the arrears that Punjab government owes to Himachal Pradesh for its share of 7.19 % in power generation at all projects of BBMB. The cash-strapped Punjab government is working out strategies to dispute Himachal Pradesh’s claims of Rs 4,000 crore.
A panel comprising officials from the Central Electricity Authority, the ministry of power and the BBMB are holding meetings to prepare a report on how much is actually due to Himachal Pradesh government by Punjab government. The latter has vehemently disputed claims of Rs 4,000 crore projected by the Himachal Pradesh in the Supreme Court. The report being prepared, said sources in the BBMB, will be submitted to the apex court.
“The BBMB is not directly in the picture but is only providing figures and statistics to the ministry of power about the total energy generated, cost of projects, escalation costs,” said an official of BBMB.
The matter has become a reason of concern for Punjab’s already precariously placed financial position, especially with the Supreme Court’s intervention. The state government is mulling to take a loan of nearly Rs 9,000 crore during the financial year 2012-13, to run its business.
Sources in the finance department revealed that the Punjab government is paying Rs 7,000 crore every year as interest on the staggering debt of Rs 85,000 crore. The bills pending with the government, as of now, total up to over Rs 1,000 crore.
The state needs another Rs 6,000 crore to settle energy bills of free power promised to the farmers and the poor.
And if the SAD-BJP government has to fulfill its election promise to employees, of giving 30% of money due as per Fifth Pay Commission, then another Rs 1,500 crore are required.