As the tussle between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh continues over the 99-year-old lease of the British-era 110 Mega Watt (MW) Shanan Hydropower Project situated in Himachal Pradesh’s Jogindernagar, the Himachal Pradesh Government has yet again made it clear that it will not relent.
The project is presently under the control of the Punjab Government, and its lease will expire in March 2024. The Himachal Pradesh Government has announced not to renew or extend the lease period, and wants the project to be handed over to the State before the expiry of the lease period. Meanwhile, the Punjab Government is in no mood to do so, asserting its readiness to take legal recourse, if needed to retain the project.
On Friday, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said he had urged Union Power Minister R.K. Singh, who was on a visit to the State, to complete the process for the time-bound transfer of Shanan Hydroelectric Project to Himachal Pradesh, among other issues.
“I have apprised the Union Minister about all the issues related to ownership of the Shanan hydel project and also about its lease period which is expiring in March 2024. I apprised him that the ownership rights of the Shanan project do not rest with the Punjab Government as it was only given on lease to the Punjab Government,” said Mr. Sukhu, adding that the Union Minister had assured that he would address all the issues in a time-bound manner.
Mr. Sukhu had earlier written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann stating that the 99-year-old lease of the project given to Punjab by the then ruler of Mandi, Raja Joginder Singh Bahadur, would end on March 2, 2024. The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided not to renew or extend the lease period of the project, and intends to take over the project, it added. The 110 MW Shanan power project was envisaged by Col. Battye, the then Chief Engineer of government of Punjab in the year 1922.