Expedite Ujh Project

The entire matter unbelievably is struck over as to what should be the height of the dam as there is absence of a consensus among the State and the Central agencies in respect of Ujh Multipurpose Project in Kathua district. The water of river Ujh, a tributary of River Ravi, if stored as per the DPR, has the potential to irrigate 30000 hectares of land and generate more than 200 Mega Watts of eco clean hydropower. Both these are very much required by the State as the demand both for providing drinking and irrigable water  as also the electricity is increasing year by year in the State.
The stalemate continues over this project of much importance which was conceived as back as in the year 2001. The basic premise and the principle hovering round the issue of executing of this project is as to why the country and the State as such, cannot utilize and get increasingly benefitted from, the part of the flow of water that otherwise goes across the border unutilized and for that matter, was a sheer wastage going right under our nose which we could harness and make use of, for the benefit of the people.
Since we must be conscious of and exercise our rights under the Indus Water Treaty, the Central Government felt quite enthusiastic about the matter of immense importance, the question being of water and power. This project has the added advantage in the sense that the Prime Minister’s Office has been continuously pursuing and showing urgency in its early execution. The PMO has gone this far in the project so as to intervene in it as early as last year due to which it received the added and the necessary push with an aim to utilize each and every drop of water flowing through the eastern river system, all for the benefit of the people.
In the year 2006, the Union Cabinet declared it as National Water Resources Project with the assurance that 90 percent cost would be provided as Central Grant and only rest of the 10 percent would be borne by the State Government from its own sources. The State Government unexpectedly did not show much interest in it for reasons not known. Perhaps, sharing the residual paltry 10 percent cost could be one of the factors.
The PMO continued its follow up while it should have been the other way and accordingly in early 2017, it asked the Chief Secretary of the State to convey  the much desired willingness of the State Government to the Central Government so that the project would be executed. The State Government has, however, subjected the execution of the project to certain conditions, if not caveats in the strict sense. The main one is regarding the height of the dam as the consideration is to cause minimum displacement and dislocation to the inhabitants of the area falling under the project.
Looking to the immense importance of the project and the dire need to have access to more water for our parched lands and to quench thirst together with narrowing down the mismatch between the demand and the supply of power, we would expect all concerned agencies to coordinate and work in sheer tandem so as to get the execution of the project on fast track mode.