Centre has given its nod to the construction of two big power generating projects that had been hanging fire for last 57 years. These are the 1856 MW Sawlakote hydro-electric power project and 930 MW Kirthai-II hydro-electric power project at estimated costs of Rs 22,000 crores and Rs 5500 crores respectively. The work on projects will begin shortly with Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Government of India, giving its nod to construction of both the projects.
The clearance to two major power projects, both of which will be constructed over river Chenab in Ramban and Doda districts has to be linked to what Prime Minister Modi had hinted at in his Independence Day speech made from the ramparts of Red Fort. He had said that India would review the status of Indus Water Treaty and deny Pakistan the quantum of water that was India’s right in the light of the clauses of the treaty. Indus Water Treaty gives India the right to share with Pakistan the waters of three rivers including Chenab. Making use of that clause, Modi Government has now taken the decision of clearing the two mega hydroelectric power generating projects. The Sawlakot project has ten year time frame while the Kirthai – II will be completed in six years and half.
Production of 1856 MW of power at a cost of 27,500 crore rupees, is not an ordinary enterprise. Once completed, it will make J&K self-sufficient in power production. The chronic deficit of power in the State consumes a whooping amount of 4,000 crore rupees per annum as additional power has to be purchased from neighbouring states. It will not only boost development of industries and other areas but will also open enormous avenues of employment for the youth of the State.
Pakistan has no reason to grumble over India using the waters of the Chenab to boost its power production effort because India is within her rights to go ahead with these projects without any fear of Pakistan raising any objection.