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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

Charges for non-agricultural use of river, canal water hiked

Govt expects to increase revenue generated from water charges from existing ₹24 cr per year to ₹319 crore

chandigarh Updated: Dec 04, 2019 23:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

The Punjab cabinet on Wednesday decided to revise charges for the use of river and canal water for purposes other than agriculture.

According to a government spokesperson, the proposed rates are on a par with Haryana, and the revision is expected to increase the revenue generated from water charges from the existing ₹24 crore per year to ₹319 crore.

The decision has been taken as the state government needed to mobilise additional resources for maintenance of canal network, spread across 14,500km across the state.

Most of the distributaries and minors were lined 30 to 40 years back during 1980s, and regular cleaning, twice a year, is required to run the canals efficiently so as to ensure authorized discharge at tail ends, said the spokesperson.

The department of water resources, apart from irrigation, supplies water in bulk to various institutions such as thermal power plants, industries, municipal corporations etc, through canals and rivers.

Likewise, beverage and bottled water industry, drinking water supply (including railways and army), fish ponds, brick making and water for construction work also utilise bulk supply of water for operations.

GOVERNMENT TO RECRUIT 1,090 PATWARIS

The cabinet also gave the nod to recruit 1,090 patwaris against vacant posts and also approved posting of one Kanungo for seven patwar circles, instead of the existing practice of one kanungo after 10 patwar circles, thus creating 34 new posts of kanungos for this purpose. The decision has been taken in the light of the enhanced work load of the field kanungos, due to the social-economic transformation taking place across the state.

INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES ACT AMENDED

The cabinet approved several amendments to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, related to Sections 2A, 25K, 25N and 25-O claiming to ensure ease of business for the small industry.

Disclosing this, an official spokesperson said currently there is no time limit for raising an industrial dispute before a conciliation officer and its reference later to the labour court under Section 2A of the Act.

The amendment to Section 2A will now provide a time limit of three years, so that stale matters are not agitated after lapse of certain time.

Further, Section 25N of the Act states that prior approval of the state government should be obtained, besides complying with other conditions, before retrenching an employee.

The management has to give a three-month notice or three month’s wages in lieu thereof for retrenching any employee. It was felt that three month’s notice be made mandatory and extra three month’s wages be paid to the worker before retrenchment by amending section 25N (1)(a) and clause 9 of section 25N of the Act.

According to Section 25-O, before closing the industry, the management has to get approval from the government and the workers are compensated by paying 15 days’ pay for every completed year of service. The existing sub-section(8) of Section-25-O stipulates that where an undertaking is permitted to be closed down under sub section (2), or where permission for closure is deemed to be granted under sub section (3), every workman who is employed in that undertaking immediately before the date of application for permission under this section, shall be entitled to receive compensation, which shall be equivalent to 15 days’ average pay for every completed year of continuous service or any part thereof in excess of 6 months.