Govt issues bills to hydel projects in JK
Trouble Over Artificial Lake
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Feb 3: Acting further on implementation of the Water Resources Act 2010, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has issued bills for water usage to the power projects operating in the state.
Releasing the bills at a press conference here, the Minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control Taj Mohi-ud-Din said revenues under the Act are expected to cross Rs 900 crores a year.
He said the Act was enforced in Jammu and Kashmir in on November 11 last year and on November 12 all the power projects generating electricity in the state were given notices to register themselves with the State Water Resources Regulatory Authority (SWRRA) within six months.
He said these power projects have started making enquiries with the State Government about completion of the necessary formalities.
Releasing a copy of the bills for the first half quarter from November 12 to December 31, 2010, the Minister said the water usage charges for Salal Project have been calculated at Rs 10 crores, Uri project Rs 6.43 crores, Dul Hasti Rs 8.74 crores and for proposed Uri-II Rs 150 crores.
He said the NHPC alone accounts for Rs 37.33 crores in the first quarter billing.
“The billing has been worked out as per the current discharge in the rivers of the state, which is expected to rise in spring,” Taj said. “Currently the discharge in Jehlum is 1000 cusecs while as during summers it peaks to 8000 cusecs.”
Terming the Water Resources Act as the first step towards economic self-reliance of the state, Taj said he is hopeful of realizing Rs 913 crores as water usage charges for the coming year which comes out to be 25 percent of the state’s total resource base.
He said once projects like Kishan Ganga are completed, the revenue generation on account of water usage by power projects is expected to cross Rs 1500 crores.
He said the constitution of a State Water Resources Regulatory Authority is in process. “For the time being the powers of the authority are vested with the Principal Secretary, PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control,” he said.
He said the current rates of 25 paisa per cubic meter are applicable only for two years after which the rates will be reviewed by the SWRRA.
About the idea of the Act, the Minister said it is in vogue in counties like Australia, England and many parts of Europe.
He said Jammu and Kashmir has thus become the first state in the country to have such an Act and states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand have asked for its copies.
Taj said for domestic usage of water, the Government intends introduction of meters for its judicious use. He said common man would not be affected with recoveries of usage dues on account of domestic, commercial and industrial use of water.
“Ground water too has been brought under the purview of the Act and accordingly usage tariffs for domestic, industrial and commercial usage have been fixed,” he said.
He said the Central Government, under its policy, gets 30 percent of the O&M of a project back as revenue while in J&K this ratio is only one percent.
To a question of non-compliance by any power project, the Minister said under section 102 of the Act, the State can stop water to the project as penalty and even its possession would not be regularized.
Taj appealed people for judicious use of water and its conservation terming it as a non renewable gift of nature.
He said Government is also considering bringing in a law for promoting water harvesting in the State. “The treatment cost of potable water comes out to be 50 paisa per liter while as the government gets only one paisa from the consumers,” he said.
JK ACCUSED OF VIOLATING IWT
Meanwhile fresh controversy has erupted between India-Pakistan, with former alleging Indus Water Treaty (IWT) violation this time on River Tawi where Jammu and Kashmir government has taken up a prestigious project to construct an artificial lake.
A high-level team from Pakistan is expected to visit Jammu from February 15 to 25 to review the construction work on the first artificial lake.
“Pakistan has raised certain objections over the creation of the lake and has expressed concern that it violates Indus Water Treaty (which binds both the countries over usage of waters in the region),” Taj Mohi-ud-Din told reporters.
He said the state government has made it clear that there was no violation of the Treaty and the project was well within its permissible limits.
“The state has already made it clear that the total cultivable command area and irrigated command in the State are well below the threshold limits as put up by the treaty,” he said.
As per the treaty, the pondage limit is four lac acres which is yet to be exploited, the minister said, adding, this is in addition to the one lakh acre limit of irrigation acreage yet to be attained in the region.
Government aims to prevent excess water during floods from being wasted and use it to irrigate more land and promote water transport in the river, giving it an aesthetic look.
To assess the ground situation and factual aspect of the issue, the team of Pakistan officials will be visiting Jammu. To be constructed at an estimated cost of around Rs 30 crores, the project is being developed on the dry patch in the river Tawi.
Having witnessed many hiccups, the work on the lake is proposed to be completed by 2012 and the reservoir will primarily be used for augmenting the Ranbir Irrigation Canal.
The IWT is a water-sharing treaty between the India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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