Jammu, June 10: Shahpur Kandi national project coming up in Kathua district along the border between Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab, vindicates the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh today said.
He was speaking in an interview in the union capital about major developmental transformations brought about in Jammu & Kashmir by the Modi government. “In the absence of Shahpur Kandi project, the major part of India’s share of water from river Ravi was flowing into Pakistan,” he said.
Singh said it was either a case of lack of understanding or misplaced priorities or motivated political consideration that whenever there was cross-border firing or strained relations with Pakistan, many of the leaders from the region would immediately raise the populist demand to stop the water flowing into Pakistan, without realising and being ignorant of the fact that most of India’s share of water was flowing into Pakistan because of the absence of this dam. He said as soon as the issue was brought to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he personally intervened for immediate revival of the project.
The Shahpur Kandi Dam project is being constructed on river Ravi 11 km downstream of Ranjit Sagar dam and 8 km upstream of Madhopur Headworks in Pathankot district. It will reduce the outflow of river water. “Once this game-changer project becomes fully functional, the border districts of Kathua and Samba in Jammu & Kashmir and districts of Pathankot and Gurdaspur in Punjab will be the main beneficiaries with sufficient availability of water for irrigation and power. The dry or less irrigated zone, which was traditionally referred to as “Kandi” belt, will no longer be known as Kandi and the future generations will not be even aware of this expression,” said Singh.
Expressing the hope that Shahpur-Kandi dam project would become functional by November 2022, he said that it would be a historic landmark as one of the major events marking the 75th year of India’s independence. The Union Minister said Shahpur Kandi dam project aimed at utilising full water of river Ravi in Indian territory. Almost 63 percent work of the main dam was completed and on its completion, Shahpur Kandi dam project would provide intensive irrigation facilities in 32000 hectare area falling in the districts of Kathua and Samba and 5000 hectare area falling in district Pathankot, he informed.
Singh said that the project would hopefully start giving water through gravity to J&K through Ravi canal, which would help in uplifting socio-economic status of the people of the region. “It would also create tourism potential and improve the socio-economic conditions of the people in this border area,” he added.
Singh stated that the construction of 1378 metres of balance portion of Ravi canal including proposed construction of aqueduct across Sukhral Khad coming in the alignment of canal was of utmost importance to the inhabitants of area residing in the twin districts of Kathua and Samba in J&K as it would create an irrigation potential of 32173 hectare and a game changer in the upliftment of the socio-economic condition of the public.
“The proposed canal shall carry a discharge of 1150 cusecs. With the completion of the balance portion of Ravi canal, the existing Basantpur Irrigation lift scheme shall become redundant thereby relieving UT of J&K of the recurring huge expenses on account of the energy charges and water shall flow under gravity without interruption to cater the irrigation facility to the kandi area,” he said.