Cabinet declares Shahpur Kandi as national project

MoWS to monitor, extend help to two States
Dr Jitendra lauds PM for initiative

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Dec 6: The Union Cabinet today declared Shahpur Kandi dam project, which is being constructed by Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab jointly, as the national project, which will now be monitored regularly by the Union Ministry of Water Resources (MoWS). The Centre would extend whatever assistance required by the two States in implementation of the project.
The Union Cabinet, which met this evening in New Delhi and was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the proposal of Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari, for declaration of Shahpur Kandi as a national project.
On September 8, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab Governments had entered into a historic agreement on construction of the project after nearly four decades of delay.
Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Officer (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh, who took keen interest in the project, lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for declaring Shahpur Kandi as national project, which would help in its speedy completion.
Dr Singh recalled that the PMO had intervened in the project after which Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Nipender Mishra had convened a meeting of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Central Water Commission representatives after which the two States had finalized the agreement co construct the project.
“With declaration of Shahpur Kandi as national project, the Union Ministry of Water Resources will also monitor it and extended whatever help required by the two Governments for its timely and speedy completion as the project will benefit both Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab in terms of irrigation water and electricity.
The project will turn out to be a boon for Kandi belts of Kathua and Samba districts and parts of Jammu district and give 41 MW of power to J&K in addition to 20 per cent of Thein dam. It will irrigate 80,000 acres of land in Kandi areas of Kathua, Samba and Jammu districts and 95,000 acres of land in Punjab. It will generate 270 MW of power for the neighbouring State. The project will be completed in about three years and water will start flowing to two and half districts of Jammu by the end of 2020.
The previous Governments had insisted on securing compensation from Punjab Government running into hundreds of crores, which the neighbouring State had refused. This led to deadlock between the two States, leading to delay in the agreement till the Prime Minister’s Office intervened and made all three parties to sit together and reach the agreement.
J&K is entitled to 0.69 MAF of water from river Ravi of which only 0.215 MAF is being utilized by the State.
While the construction of 79.5 kilometers Ravi canal and 493 kilometers of distribution network in J&K has been completed, the lack of progress on Shahpur Kandi dam project and some disputes relating to the Thein dam, had led to non-utilization of the waters of river Ravi to which J&K was entitled to.
The project will immensely benefit the districts of Kathua and Samba besides catering to some parts of Jammu district. It will irrigate 32,000 hectares of agricultural land (80,000 acres) in Kandi areas, upstream and downstream along the Jammu-Pathankot National Highway in Samba and Kathua districts. This will ensure the prosperity of the farmers of these areas and will lead to overall development of the region.
As per the agreement, J&K can get 41 MW of power from this project, in addition to 20 per cent power of Thein Dam. This Project will be completed by the Government of Punjab in three years and the water is expected to flow to J&K by the end of 2020.
Jammu & Kashmir will be provided with full quantity of 1150 cusecs of water under all circumstances subject to a ceiling of 0.69 MAF water, which is entitled as per the 1979 Agreement.