GANDHINAGAR: The Public Undertakings Committee (PUC) of the state assembly has pulled up Gujarat government over its failure to recover, from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the proportionate capital cost of Narmada dam’s power generation project.
It has recommended that the government recover Rs 4,500 crore from these states and, if required, file a case in the Supreme Court. The recommendation has been made in the PUC’s report based on observations of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its commercial report of 2007-08.
According to PUC, the CAG noted that according to a December 1979 order of the Narmada tribunal, Madhya Pradesh with 57 per cent and Maharashtra with 27 per cent benefits, were supposed to share the project cost.
In its explanation, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited ( SSNNL) said that several representations were made to these states and the Union government in this regard. The Nigam further said that Gujarat needs to recover equity share from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra for the dam, power project and rehabilitation of the people.
Madhya Pradesh’s stand is that it does not want to share the cost of the project as most of the benefits are going to Gujarat. Further, out of the total remaining dues of Rs 4500 crore, Rs2918 crore is only interest, said the neighbouring state.
The two states have argued that they don’t want to pay the interest as it is the result of delay in execution of the project. The Gujarat government had requested the Narmada Control Authority and the Union water resources department to intervene. After that the matter was referred to the attorney general for his opinion.
However, the attorney general said that Gujarat cannot take this money. When the Union government was requested to ask the attorney general to hear Gujarat’s plea, the Centre asked him to give his final opinion. The issue is pending before the attorney general.
The PUC asked the Nigam whether they can challenge the case in the Supreme Court. The Nigam replied that for such issues one has to go to the Appellate Committee under the Prime Minister. The Nigam has decided to wait for a favorable response from the attorney general and, thereafter, challenge the issue in the PM’s Appellate Committee. The PUC, however, recommended that the Nigam immediately proceed before the PM’s Appellate Committee on the issue.