Political parties in Punjab are up in arms over the Centre’s decision to amend the rules regarding appointments to two key positions on the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
GS II- Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Formation of BBMB
- Functions of BBMB
- What changes have been made to the BBMB rules?
- Objection to the new rules
Formation of BBMB
- As per the Indus Water Treaty, 1960 signed between India and Pakistan, the waters of three eastern rivers namely the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi were allotted to India for exclusive use.
- A Master Plan was drawn to harness the potential of these rivers for providing assured irrigation, power generation and flood control.
- Bhakra and Beas Projects form major part of the plan, and were established as a joint-venture of the erstwhile states of Punjab and Rajasthan.
- On Reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Punjab on 1st November, 1966, Bhakra Management Board (BMB) was constituted under section 79 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
- The administration, maintenance and operation of Bhakra Nangal Project were handed over to Bhakra Management Board.
- The Beas Project Works, on completion, were transferred by Government of India from Beas Construction Board (BCB) to Bhakra Management Board as per the provisions of Section 80 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
- Pursuant to this Bhakra Management Board was renamed as Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) in May 1976.
- Since then, the Bhakra Beas Management Board is dedicated to the service of nation and is engaged in regulation of the supply of Water & Power from Bhakra Nangal and Beas Projects to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pardesh, Delhi and Chandigarh
- BBMB is headed by a Whole Time Chairman and two Whole Time Members i.e. Member (Irrigation) and Member (Power) who head the Irrigation and Power Wings of BBMB respectively.
- The Financial Adviser & CAO heads the Finance & Accounts Wing of BBMB.
Functions of BBMB
- Administration, Operation & Maintenance of Bhakra-Nangal Project, Beas Project Unit-I (Beas Satluj Link Project) and Beas Project Unit- II (Pong Dam) in Northern India.
- The regulation of supply of water from Satluj, Ravi and Beas to the States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
- The regulation and supply of power generated from Bhakra-Nangal and Beas Projects.
- Providing and performing engineering & related technical and consultancy services in the various fields of hydroelectric power projects and irrigation projects and to carry on all kinds of business related thereto, either independently or as a Joint Venture with any Central/State/Public Sector Undertaking(s) or establishment(s) under the administrative control of Ministry of Power. Joint venture with any other agency/organization will be subject to the approval of the Central Govt.
- Construction of new Hydro Projects within and outside BBMB System.
What changes have been made to the BBMB rules?
- The GoI issued a notification on February 23, 2022 to amend the BBMB Rules 1974, thereby changing the criteria for the selection of whole-time members of the Board.
- New rules specify technical qualifications for the appointments and pave for the appointment of the members from across India and NOT ONLY from Punjab and Haryana.
Objection to the new rules:
- The opposition to the new rules has come from within the engineers’ fraternity, farmers as well as the political parties of Punjab.
- It is being labeled as an attack on the federal structure of the country.
- The engineers have pointed out that hardly any engineer would qualify for appointment as per the new specifications.
-Source: Indian Express