Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Centre systematically diluting rights of Punjab in BBMB

VINOD GUPTA | February 25, 2022 05:25 PM

CHANDIGARH: Government of India has chosen a time to amend the selection criterion for the two members of Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) to dilute the rights of Punjab , at a time when the election process in Punjab is underway and practically there is no government of the day.

Ministry of Power vide a notification issued on February 23 (Wednesday) amended the selection criteria for the posts of chairman and members in the Bhakra Management Board (BBMB) . Through this amendment, selection of Member Power and Member Irrigation has been opened and this will not be necessarily restricted to major partner states Punjab and Haryana. The new conditions are totally detrimental to the interests of Punjab State and
the centre is systematically diluting the rights of Punjab. BBMB was formed to look in to the joint inter state projects of Punjab , Haryana and Rajasthan and its expenditure was met by partner states in the ratio of their share. Under the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, the share from BBMB was divided between Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 58:42 ,with some share to Rajasthan and UT Chandigarh . Subsequently share of HP was also added. Primarily Punjab and Haryana are two major beneficiaries of BBMB projects.

BBMB is headed by a Whole Time Chairman and two Whole Time Members i.e. Member (Irrigation) and Member (Power) . Member Irrigation is represented by an engineer from Haryana irrigation and Member Power is represented by a power engineer from PSPCL/PSTCL respectively through the nominations sent by the respective State Governments. This practice has ensured that the biggest stakeholders Punjab and Haryana have a say in the management of BBMB,and to watch the interests of their states. Earlier BBMB Chairman used to be a person from outside the partner states so that he could take decisions without any bias. However, this convention was broken in 2018 when Chairman was appointed from Himachal Pradesh which happen to be one of the partner States. His bias towards his home state was clearly visible during his tenure. PSEB Engineers Association in its letter to chief secretary Punjab has sought an immediate meeting to discuss the issue as such an amendment will not be in the interests of the State.

V K Gupta spokesperson All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said that since BBMB manages assets owned by partner
states, the whole time members should be from the partner states Punjab, Haryana only and there is no logic of taking these members from any outside state or organisation.There is no justification to deviate from current practice.

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