Ravi canal project

Ravi Canal Project agreement was signed by Sheikh Muhamamd Abdullah and Pratap Singh Badal, the Chief Ministers of J&K and Punjab respectively in 1979. Left bank of Ravi falls in the State of Punjab and the right bank in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. A canal was proposed to be constructed from a site on the Satwain side of the reservoir and through a six km tunnel it would be brought at Basantpur Lift station through Sukhal nallah without help from Punjab, which has denied the state its share since 1979, when the dam was constructed.  In February 2010 the State Cabinet had in principal accorded approval to the construction of canal from Basantpur to upstream of Ranjit Sagar Dam near village Satwain falling in district Kathua. When completed the canal would irrigate nearly 1.33 thousand acres in the southern districts of J&K and 25 MW of power would also be generated from the hydro project at the site.  Under the agreement Punjab was to share 1100 causecs of water with J&K but through legislation in 2004 Punjab cancelled all bilateral agreements under which water and electricity agreement was signed by both the Governments. Thein dam had started generating electricity in 2001.
Apart from this the State Government was also oblige to take up the issue in totality with the Punjab Government at highest level so that J&K is able to get its 20 per cent share of electricity from the Punjab Government from the Bhakhra dam denied to it since last 30-years. Punjab Government owes us Rs 2200 crore on account of compensation and the State Government has taken up the issue with them. Under the agreement, Punjab was to share 1100 cusecs of water with J&K, but it scrapped the agreement signed in 1978.
In February 2010 State Cabinet had in principal accorded approval to the construction of canal from Basantpur to upstream of Ranjit Sagar Dam near village Satwain falling in district Kathua. Three months back the State Cabinet cleared starting of balance portion of the canal at a cost of 275 crore rupees. But a new difficulty has surfaced in the case that has been hanging fire for last 18 years. First difficulty is that a good portion of the proposed canal falls within the Wild Life Sanctuary in Kathua and as such clearance from Wild Life Department of the State is mandatory. Once that is done, the second stage is to obtain clearance from the National Board for Wild Life. The matter does not end there. Even after clearance from these two sources, final clearance shall have to be obtained from the Central Empowered Committee and the Apex Court. Even the State Wide Life Department was not forthcoming to give its consent to the project but advised that the Government first get’s done Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for their project.
The process through which the project has to go are complicated and time consuming. It is so ironical that a project expected to irrigate thousands of kanals of land and also generate electricity that is badly needed by the people should take 18 long years to be discussed and still no final stage is in sight. The State Government has also provided funds for the prestigious project but then there are administrative and legal bottlenecks that are hindering the progress of the project. Actually funds have been released after Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Ltd, submitted its Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the department which will be used for land acquisition and other civil works. The canal and the mini power project will be completed at a cost of Rs 410 crore. More recently Planning Department has finally released Rs 20 crore to start civil works for the extension of Ravi Tawi irrigation canal from Ranjit Sagar dam, which could pave way for the irrigation of thousands of kanals of land in Samba and Kathua districts. We hope that the construction of civil structures and the power stations along with the canal will be completed without further loss of time.

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