Dr Jitendra accuses successive J&K, Central Govts of stalling Shahpur Kandi Project

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh laying foundation stone of Shahpur Kandi Ravi canal at Mahanpur on Saturday. —Excelsior/Pardeep
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh laying foundation stone of Shahpur Kandi Ravi canal at Mahanpur on Saturday. —Excelsior/Pardeep

‘Mehbooba also dodged people’

Avtar Bhat

KATHUA, Apr 10: Turning tables on successive Central and the erstwhile State Governments who were dominated by Kashmir centric politicians, Union Minister of State in PMO with independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh held them responsible for stalling the construction of much talked about Shahpur Kandi Project for 45 long years. He also did not spare the former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti for her negative role in signing the agreement with Punjab Government on the project after an initiative was taken by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in this regard. Click here to watch video
Addressing a rally after laying foundation of balance portion of Ravi Canal of Shahpur Kandi Dam Project at Basantpur near here today, Dr Jitendra Singh said that with their ulterior motives the Kashmir centric politicians retarded the development of Kandi belt of Kathua and Samba with the result thousands Kanals of land in this belt continued to remain barren for decades together.
Dr Jitendra Singh, while giving full credit to Modi for resolving decades long impasse on project made it clear that there was no hindrance in signing of agreement and execution of Project from Punjab Government but it were the successive Governments of J&K who delayed it as they were not interested in the development of Kandi belt of Jammu.
The Union Minister said that in 2015 when due to shelling from across the border some leaders of J&K were crying to revoke the Indus Water Treaty and stop the supply of water to Pakistan, “I put a small note to PM with the request that not to speak of stopping the water supply to Pakistan the water from those rivers which are under Indian control flows to Pakistan’’. When PM asked for the cause, I narrated him that the surplus water of Ravi river flows to Pakistan due to the delay in construction of Shahpur Kandi Dam and dispute over the project between two riparian States of J&K and Punjab’’.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the PM who is well versed with J&K, its history and geography as well as varied culture took no time in getting the issue resolved and in 2019 before Lok Sabha elections when he came to Jammu he announced that this game changing project will be taken up in hand soon.
The Minister said that Prime Minister called Chief Secretaries of both the States of Punjab and J&K and framed the terms and conditions of agreement. The Punjab Government showed no reluctance in signing it but the then CM of J&K Mehbooba Mufti again dodged the people and she showed reluctance in signing the agreement on the project due to her ulterior motives. “It was only after the State was put under the Governor’s rule and issue was taken by me with then Governor Satyapal Malik it took him (Malik) only four minutes in signing the agreement which was delayed for 45 long years’’, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said the project will be completed within two years at an estimated cost of Rs 2700 crores. The pending portion of Ravi canal whose foundation was made by the Minister today will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore and it will be completed within a year, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh, while taking a dig at Opposition parties said now they are trying to take advantage of the project which they failed to get constructed for 45 long years. Terming Shahpur Kandi a historic project, he said the Kandi belt of Kathua and Samba comprising 76 villages will be benefitted by it and Kandi will no longer be called Kandi afterwards.
This multi pronged project besides, irrigating 32000 Hectares of land will produce 206 mw of power and also provide drinking water supply to a vast section of people.
The Minister said besides this, the project will also help in employment generation and boost the tourism as it will be one of the best tourist spots also.
Dr Jitendra Singh was accompanied by Advisor to Lt Governor, Rajiv Bhatnagar, DDC chairman Kathua, Mahan Singh, DDC Vice Chairman, Kathua Raghunandan Singh Babloo, president MC Kathua, Naresh Sharma, Chief Engineer, Shahpur Kandi Dam Project, S K Saluja, District Development Commissioner, Kathua, Rahul Yadav, SSP Kathua, Romesh Kotwal, former Minister, Rajiv Jasrotia, ex-MLA Kuldeep Kumar, Councilor and senior BJP leader, Prem Nath Dogra and other party leaders.
Earlier addressing District Development Coordination & Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meeting at Kathua, Dr Jitendra Singh stressed for timely completion of projects of people’s importance. He emphasized on elected PRI’s to work in tandem with administration to achieve desired development results.
He  took a comprehensive review of physical and financial achievements of Centrally Sponsored Schemes PMGSY, DDUGJY, NRLM, PMUJ, PMKSY, PMUY, BADP SAUBHAGYA, IWMP, MGNREGA, ICDS, BBBP, PM-KISAN, KCC Swachh Bharat Mission, languish projects, 14th FC, JJM, SBM-G  etc. The MP also reviewed the achievements of various schemes implemented by the PWD, PDD, Jal Shakti Department, Agriculture, Horticulture, Education, Social Welfare, Labor Department, Urban Development Department and others.
The Union Minister called upon the concerned officers to ensure 100% coverage of beneficiaries under IAY and Ayushman-Sehat. He further asked PRIs to ensure all deserving people entail the benefit of these schemes.
Regarding pending forest clearance of several roads and other projects, the Minister directed the concerned officers to personally pursue the progress for ensuring time bound completion of the projects.
Dr Jitendra Singh directed the Deputy Commissioner to take up those roads left out in earlier plan of CRF and PMGSY.
Referring to the key development works of the district, he said the work on double lanning of Dayalachack –Challain has been started by the concerned agency. He said survey process for vital road link from Lakhanpur-Basohli-Chattargallan-Doda road has been started.
Dr Jitendra Singh directed Deputy Commissioner to clear the bottlenecks for the land identification for proposed Arun Jaitley Memorial Stadium in Hiranagar.
Responding to the demand of amenities at Atal Setu, Dr Singh assured that more infrastructure like food point and other amenities will be developed near Atal Setu to facilitate tourist coming in large numbers to see scenic Ranjit Sagar Dam lake and Cable Stay Bridge.
Earlier, Dr Singh e-inaugurated 10 completed projects under PMGSY sector which include 4.7 km Rehalta to Trimbli, 2.3 km Chilk to Nouni, 4.5 km Dewal to Tadi, 4km Lakhri to Kunoo, 6.9 km Korithyal roads. Other projects inaugurated by the Union Minister including 2 vented causeway and 3 motorable steel bridges under PMGSY, 5 Water Supply Schemes of Jal Shakti( PHE) and a Hybrid Solar Panel Project of Chief Education Officer, Kathua.
DDC Chairperson, Mahan Singh said Kathua district has huge potential of tourism and further termed the proposed Lakhanpur- Chattergallan road link connecting Doda as big game changer for the district. He also highlighted the demand of early completion of Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli road link and Dayalachack Challain road, pending payments compensation for families affected by the construction of Ditch cum Bandh at Hiranagar besides the provision of Mini Secretariat building and construction of Chack dams in border sub division Hiranagar.
Vice Chairperson, DDC Raghunandan Singh in his address impressed upon the elected members of PRI’s to work in close coordination with district administration for better planning and execution of the development works.
The meeting among others was attended by Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Rahul Yadav, president MC, Naresh Sharma, MC Lakhanpur Ravinder Sharma, MC Nagri Parole Anil Singh, MC Hiranagar Adv Vijay Kumar Sharma, MC Basohli Sumesh Sapolia, MC Billawar Uma Kant Basotra, BDC Chairpersons, DDC members and nominated members of DISHA Committee besides district officers of different departments.
District Development Commissioner Kathua, Rahul Yadav gave a Power Point presentation on the achievements and progress under different Centrally Sponsored Schemes and status of various development projects being executed by different departments and other agencies in the district.