The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on Saturday passed a bill that envisages taxing the water used for power generation in the state, which is expected to generate an annual income of Rs 850 crore.

The Bill was passed by the state Assembly by a voice vote after it was introduced for consideration and passing by Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Taj Mohiuddin.

“As per our estimates, the state would generate Rs 850 crores annually even if only two paise per cubic tonne of water is charged from the power houses,” Mohiuddin said while seeking the passage of the bill.

He said the bill was foolproof as it has been framed after consulting top legal and water experts. Mohiuddin said it was necessary to regulate the state’s water resources as it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure safety of the lives and properties of the people.

“A dam was constructed at Uri for the power project. So far, the dam has claimed 25 lives. Who is responsible for it?” he asked.

He said the bill will consolidate the law relating to use of water, measurement, construction, control and management of works with respect to water storage, conservation and protection. It will also control irrigation, water supply, drainage, flood control, improvement in the flow of water and safety and surveillance of dams.

The bill also seeks establishment of State Water Resources Regulatory Authority for regulating water resources, ensuring judicious, equitable and sustainable management, allocation and utilisation of water resources and fixing the rates for use of water.

The bill will now be sent to the Legislative Council for consideration and passage. Once passed by the Upper House, it will be referred to the Governor of the state for assent before it becomes an Act.

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