The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has clipped the powers of its two whole-time members. The posts of member (power) and member (irrigation) will now be only advisory in nature.
The post of member (power) falls in Punjab’s share while that of member (irrigation) falls in Haryana’s share. According to the latest office order issued by the BBMB on March 26, all administrative and technical powers have been centralised in the hands of the BBMB chairman.
Citing the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, and the ministry of law, justice and company affairs advice conveyed by the Union ministry of energy in 1981, the office order says the whole-time members would act as advisers to the chairman for technical and other matters as the chairman may deem fit.
The BBMB was formed under Punjab Reorganisation Act and since then, two whole-time members used to be the overall in charge of the works and administration in their respective spheres. The member (power) used to be head of the power wing and was also responsible for the generation wing, transmission wing and system operation.
Similarly, the member (irrigation) was head of the irrigation wing and was responsible for irrigation projects, which included the Bhakra dam complex, Beas dam, Talwara, Beas-Sutlej link project, Sundernagar, Nangal dam and the Nangal hydel channel.
The reorganisation act was passed in 1966 with various amendments in 1975, 1980 and 1981. However, the board chairmen adopted working principles whereby two whole-time members were given due importance in the board affairs. These principles have now been scrapped by the BBMB chairman.
The circular is silent on the role of whole-time members in the technical committee which meets every month to decide the release of water and generation for the next month.
Criticising the move, Shiromani Akali Dal spokesman and Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said: “It is wrong on the part of the BBMB to suddenly clip the powers of its members, one of whom is the representative of Punjab, and centralise all powers in the hands of one person. Such a move will adversely affect the interests of Punjab in the BBMB.”