From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Bhakra Nangal Dam
Mains level : River water management issues
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).
What is BBMB?
- The genesis of BBMB lies in the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960.
- Under this, waters of three eastern rivers— Ravi, Beas and Sutlej — were allotted to India for exclusive use while Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers were allocated to Pakistan.
- In India, 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 a major part of this plan and were established as a joint venture of the then undivided Punjab and Rajasthan.
- Following the reorganization of Punjab on November 1, 1966, and the creation of the state of Haryana, the BBMB was constituted under Section 79 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
- The administration, maintenance and operation of Bhakra Nangal Dam project was handed over to Bhakra Management on October 1, 1967.
- On May 15, 1976, when the Beas Projects Works were completed and handed over, the Bhakra Management Board was renamed as Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
- Since then, BBMB regulates supply of water and power to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh.
What is the constitution of the BBMB management?
- The BBMB management includes a chairperson and two whole time members who are from the partner states of Punjab and Haryana.
- They are designated as Member (Power) and Member (Irrigation) from Punjab and Haryana, respectively.
- There is representation from each member state including Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh as nominated by the respective state governments.
- The total strength of BBMB is about 12,000 employees and out of these 696 are Group A officers and are posted from the partner states.
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.
What has been the 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.
Back2Basics: Indus Waters Treaty, 1960