TAJ TAKES ON RATHER

Ravi Canal Project

AKSHAY AZAD

Jammu, Nov 6: Ravi Tawi Irrigation Canal project has finally turned to be a bone of contention between PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din and Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather with former accusing the later of behaving “more than Chief Minister and watching interest of Punjab government”.
 Following a long drawn battle between Jammu and Kashmir and Panjab, the state Cabinet had on February 2010 accorded in principal approval to the construction of canal from Basantpur to upstream of Ranjit Sagar Dam near village Satwain falling in district Kathua.
  The proposed canal is to be constructed from the Satwain side of the reservoir and through a six km tunnel it will 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.
 Official sources said that the Finance and Irrigation Ministries were at loggerhead over some of the issues concerning the project. Despite having received the initial amount for the project construction, the irrigation department is learnt to have been waiting for the financial concurrence from the Finance Department. “The file concerning the project was today returned back to the irrigation department by finance with some more queries”, sources claimed.
 When contacted, Irrigation Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din confirmed that the proposal has been returned by the finance department. He, however, accused the Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather “for deliberately creating hurdles in the execution of the prestigious project”.
 “He (Rather) behaves more than a Chief Minister and was trying to overrule even the cabinet decision”, virtually upset Taj told Greater Kashmir.
 Accusing Finance Minister for creating hurdles on flimsy grounds, Taj further said that the “personal ego of Finance Minister” has wasted crucial months for construction of canal and is also increasing the losses incurred by state so far.
 “After replying the queries of Finance department many a times we had once again send the file for financial concurrence, but today again the file has been returned with some more queries which no base on the ground” he said, adding that they have decided to take up the matter in next cabinet meeting, for getting administrative approval for project.
 “We will approach the cabinet directly for the administrative approval. Let the finance minister explain its position to the cabinet”, he said.
 He further said that he had already apprised the Chief Minister about the “hurdles created by Finance Minister”. “I avoided to take up the issue in cabinet and decided to answer the queries but Finance Minister remained unmoved, so I have decided to take up matter in next cabinet to save precious time from getting wasted”, he said.
 He said that Rather has been opposing the project right from the beginning. “When he (Rather) was Law Minister he had also raised objections over project and after the opinion of former Solicitor General of Indian and former Chief Justice BN Khare, the objections raised by Law Ministry were cleared”, he claimed adding, “Now as a Finance Minister, he is creating hurdles, which points towards the fact that he do not want welfare of Jammu region”.
 The proposed project of Ravi Canal from village Satwain, instead of Shapur Kandi area, is estimated to cost Rs. 597.65 Crores and all the formalities including Detailed Project Report (DPR), creation of funds, release of funds by state cabinet beside others have been completed.
 Pertinently, the Jammu and Kashmir government is being denied of its 20 percent share of power and 1100 cusecus of water in Ranjit Sagar Dam by neighbouring Panjab.
 In the backdrop of denial of 20 per cent share of power and irrigation water to the J&K farmers, the state has suffered a loss of nearly Rs 8000 crores, thus greatly affecting the farming sector in the southern districts of the state.
 About 22 villages of J&K side have been submerged in Ranjit Sagar dam and 60 percent of the area of J&K came under the reservoir against which Punjab Government still owes Rs 67.51 crore as land compensation to the JK farmers.
 If the project is implemented, over 1.33 thousand acres of JK land will be irrigated and 25 MW of power will also be generated.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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