SC urges AG to settle dispute between HP, Punjab & Haryana
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked Attorney General K K Venugopal to look into the prospect of an amicable settlement of the decades-old dispute between Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh over payment of compensation relating to the Bhakra-Nangal and Beas power projects.
The apex court directed the warring states to depute some responsible officers on the date to be fixed by Venugopal for adjudication of the long-drawn dispute in the top court.
"We request K K Venugopal, Attorney General, to go through the matter to find an amicable settlement regarding the liability of the payment of the States of Punjab and Haryana to the State of Himachal Pradesh. The respective States may depute some responsible officer on the date to be fixed by K K Venugopal for this purpose," a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre said.
The current dispute is an offshoot of the September 2011 verdict of the apex court in an original suit filed by Himachal Pradesh in 1996, seeking 7.19 percent of the total power generated from three hydro power projects, Bhakra- Nangal-Beas Projects, situated in its territory with effect from November 1, 1966. The apex court in its verdict had partly allowed Himachal Pradesh's claim and directed the Centre to calculate the compensation amount and submit a report in consultation with the three states.
The apex court had on August 7, 2014, asked the Attorney General to assist in the matter to resolve the issue amicably. The Centre had filed its report in the case specifying how the compensation amount can be paid as per the 2011 decree of the top court.
Himachal Pradesh has claimed that a compensation amount of Rs 4,249.45 crore is payable to it from Punjab and Haryana for the short supply of electricity from the date of actual supply and its entitlement, as per the apex court verdict. The hilly state had stated it was entitled to Rs 2,724 crore on account of the Bhakra projects, Rs 1,033.54 crore in respect of Dehar Power project and Rs 491.89 crore with regard to the Pong Power project.
The Centre in its report had said that as per the apex court's verdict, Himachal Pradesh is entitled to compensation of Rs 1,497 crore, about one-third of the claim.