Ravi water dispute

The long dispute between the two neighbouring states of J&K and Punjab seems to prolong indefinitely owing to claims and counter claims that have been mounting on either side. The Punjab Government official team led by the Chief Secretary was supposed to attend a meeting in Kashmir on May 25 but it did not materialize. An official message from Punjab Government says that the Chief Secretary was held up owing to some urgent work and would be conveying the fresh date for his meeting with State officials.
In the meanwhile, the State Government has reiterated its claim to compensate the losses J&K has suffered during last 32 years and which, according to the calculation of experts, computes to nearly 11,500 crore rupees. According to the agreement between the J&K and Punjab of 1969, Punjab Government had agreed to build the Shahpur Kandi Barrage from which water and electricity would be provided to the J&K State according to specified terms.  Since the commitment has not been fulfilled, the loss accruing to the J&K State in power and agriculture sector amounts to the whopping 11,500 crore rupees. The State Government has given the breakup of the losses on the basis of starving the fertile lands in the districts of Kathua and Samba and dashing to ground the hopes of the farmers concerned that a green revolution would overtake them with the water for irrigation flowing from the barrage.
Now, Punjab Government is exerting pressure on J&K through the Union Government to abandon the claim to the losses the State has suffered in terms of denial of water and electricity share from Ranjit Sagar Dam for the last over 17 years and also Agriculture losses suffered by the State for more than 32 years in Kathua and Samba belts. Over 1.33 lakh acre of land has been denied irrigation facilities so far. Actually what had happened is that without taking J&K Government into confidence, Punjab Government went ahead with its project worth Rs 2300 crore to construct Shahpur Kandi barrage after J&K declared that it would construct canal from Satwain near Thein in its own territory to get its much denied water share from the dam.  Punjab was getting funds from the Centre for the project and on the complaint of the J&K Government on August 14, 2014; the Centre stopped funding to Punjab. It had managed to construct nearly 700 meters of concrete canal and now the work on the project has been abandoned. The J&K did not allow construction of work of canal on its land near Basantpur and also removed machinery last year by sending DC and SSP Kathua at the site near Basantpur.  Now, the Punjab Government is desperate for the settlement of the issue as they have already spent huge amount on this project.
J&K has been liberal in performing its role as was agreed upon. For the construction of dam, J&K Government acquired 1,11,740 kanals of land of 22 villages of Basohli and Kathua. As per agreement, J&K was entitled to get 20 percent of power share generated from this dam. For this, J&K Government also laid double circuit 220 KVA transmission line. With the construction of Shahpur Kandi barrage, 1150 cusecs of water was to be released for J&K which has not been released till date due to non-construction of this barrage by Punjab Government.
It is unfortunate that this long standing dispute between the two neighbouring States could not be resolved despite at least three high powered meetings between the officials of the two States. We all know that water is a precious commodity and also a rare commodity. We are fortunate in this country that we have so many big rivers flowing down the Himalayas and irrigating vast plains of India. It is the positive side of the rivers that makes India an agricultural country of great status. Three major rives of northern India, meaning Indus, Jhelum and Chenab flow through the territory of Jammu and Kashmir while another big river namely Ravi flows partly through J&K territory and mostly through Punjab. It is but natural that the people of both the states expect to be benefitted from the waters of Ravi and also from electricity produced by hydroelectric power generating units thereof.
J&K State has suffered the big losses for all these years during which water and power that were its due remained denied to her. It has played havoc with the prosperity of our farmers particularly in the Kandi areas of the districts of Kathua and Samba. We remained deprived of the power that was our share.
In the light of this, we expect that the Punjab Government will take a decisive step towards final resolution of this tangle of Shahpur Kandi Barrage and the rights of the J&K State to the water for irrigation and the power supply that would accrue to it under existing agreement. This cannot wait because the interests of millions of farmers of our State are at stake.