KATHUA /PATHANKOT, July 13: The landmark Shahpur Kandi Dam project, held up for over four decades, will finally become functional by 2022, most likely in the first half of the year, and will be a game changer, particularly for the border districts of Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir and Gurdaspur in Punjab.
This was disclosed here today by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, while briefing the media after his visit to the site where the construction work is in progress for the project in the vicinity of river Ravi. He was accompanied by Chief Engineer of the Project, Government of Punjab Saluja, District Development Commissioner Kathua K Langar, senior Government officers from J&K and Punjab, prominent political activists and local residents.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the project had been held up for over forty years and it will be up to the future historians and analysts to find out as to what was the motivation of the successive Governments and successive Ministers or MPs in doing so. He said, it was on the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the project was revised and the work started on it in November 2018, after the Central Government prepared fresh documents, which were then duly signed by Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh and Governor of J&K Satyapal Malik.
Dr Jitendra Singh expressed surprise that many of the activists had been, from time to time, raising the bogey of stopping the water to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, without realising that even the India’s share of water was flowing into Pakistan because river Ravi was one of three rivers allocated to India under the Treaty but in the absence of Shahpur Kandi Dam, its entire water was flowing into Pakistan, without being utilised by us.
Going to be built at the cost of around Rs 2,800 crore , Dr Jitendra Singh said, after its completion about 5,000 hectare land in Punjab and about 32,173 hectare land in Kathua and Samba areas of J&K will get the benefit of irrigation. The power generation from the project will also benefit the border districts of both Punjab and J&K, he added.
Referring to Ujh-Multipurpose Project, Dr Jitendra Singh said, this has also been revived by the Modi Govt after nearly half a century but the execution of work got delayed because it has been planned to set up a simultaneous canal system, so that the surplus water from the Dam, instead of flowing into Pakistan would be made to flow through the canal into neighbouring States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.