Srinagar, Oct 29: Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday reviewed the PMDP and iconic projects of Jal Shakti department at a high level meeting with the officials of J&K and Punjab Governments. One of the key take aways of this meeting was that the government is all set to give approval to the flood management plan of river Jhelum, phase-II in the next two months.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary J&K, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta along with Commissioner Secretary, Jal Shakti department and Secretary, PM&DD. Piyush Goyal, Additional Secretary, MHA, besides representatives of Ministry of expenditure, and Jal Shakti participated in the meeting, an official handout said.
It was informed that Shahpur Kandi project has an irrigation potential of 53927 hectares and will provide irrigation facilities to the two predominantly kandi districts namely Samba and Kathua, thereby, enhancing agricultural potential of these areas.
The Commissioner Secretary Jal Shakti, J&K informed that land acquisition proceedings have been initiated by J&K Government for balance portion of Ravi Canal and as and when the compensation payable to the land owners is worked out, the same shall be conveyed to the Punjab Government officials.
He informed that out of a total of 192 kanals to be acquired for the project, only around 5% remain to be acquired and transferred to the executing agency and that the work is not held up on account of non transfer of this small portion of land to the executing agency, the statement said.
The Chief Secretary assured the MHA officials that the requirement of funds for compensation shall be worked out in the next fifteen days and conveyed to the Punjab Government.
The representative of Punjab Government informed that the filling up of the reservoir at Shahpur Kandi would cause submergence of a portion of Lakhanpur-Basohli Road.
The Chief Secretary directed the Administrative Secretary, Jal Shakti department to come up with a plan to either realign the road or conceive an alternative bridge/road project for execution on priority and in line with the project timelines so that the ‘pondage’ of the reservoir targeted by the Punjab Government in the first quarter of the calendar year 2023 is not held up by the submergence of portion of the Lakhanpur-Basohli road.
While reviewing the Ujh Multi Purpose Project, Additional Secretary, MHA indicated early approval of the project in view of enhanced irrigation potential.
He advised that the cost of the project has been revised from Rs. 9167 Cr to Rs. 11908 Cr and as the funding pattern of the project is 90:10, prior concurrence of the UT government is required before placing the same before the TAC for approval to the revised project cost.
The Chief Secretary assured that the UT will furnish concurrence to the revised project cost of the Ujh MPP within 15 days.
While observing that Phase II of the plan for comprehensive flood management of river Jhelum and its tributaries is approved as a part of PMDP during 2015-16 and, therefore its execution needs to be accelerated, Dr Mehta requested MHA officials to expedite release of funds under the project so that its implementation could get underway.
Additional Secretary, MHA announced that the approval to the phase-II of the flood management plan of river Jhelum shall be conveyed within two months.
It may be mentioned that to prevent 2014-like floods in Kashmir division, the carrying capacity of river Jhelum has been enhanced by 25 percent by dredging of the river and its flood spill channels.
The 2014 devastating floods in Srinagar and its adjoining areas wreaked havoc and caused an estimated over 1 lakh crore losses to the public and private infrastructure. Subsequently the government of India announced a comprehensive Flood Management Plan.
The Flood Management Plan was divided into two parts: Phase 1 and Phase 2. So far, 98 percent progress has been achieved on phase 1, while for phase 2, J&K administration is awaiting release for funds from the central government.
After the devastating floods of 2014, the government of India sanctioned ‘Plan for Comprehensive flood management of River Jhelum and its tributaries’. The project was funded under the Prime Minister’s Development Package. The flood management plan of River Jhelum was divided into two phases. As per the official document, Rs 399 crore was sanctioned for the first phase, of which Rs 323 crore has been released. Phase-1 is substantially completed, discharge carrying capacity increased at Sangam from 31,800 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs. Two bridges were to be completed by October 2021. After substantially completing the first phase, the government of J&K has sought funds for the second phase.