Sustained efforts by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led to the signing of a historic agreement between the border states of Punab and Jammu & Kashmir to start work on the Rs. 2793 crore Shahpur Kandi project.
The two states have decided to complete the project within three years, according to an official spokesperson, who pointed out that the Punjab Chief Minister had been pursuing the matter aggressively with the central government over the past several months. He had, in a recent meeting with Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, sought early Resolution of all issues relating to this project.
On the directives of Capt Amarinder Singh, a high-level delegation from Punjab, comprising Minister for Water Resources Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and Principal Secretary Water Resources Jaspal Sibgh, held talks with the officials of the Government of Jammu & Kashmir and signed the landmark agreement. The agreement was signed by Mr. Karan Avtar Singh Chief Secretary Punjab and Mr. BVR Subrahmanyam in the presence of Governor J&K Mr. Satya Pal Malik in Raj Bhawan Srinagar.
Shahpur Kandi Dam, an inter-state project, was approved by the Government of India as a ‘National Project’ in February 2008 at a cost of Rs. 2285.81 crore, including the irrigation component of Rs. 653.97 crore. Though work on the project started in 2013, it was halted in 2014 due to certain observations raised by the J&K government. In the meantime, the Punjab Government submitted a revised cost estimate amounting to Rs. 2793.54 crore and requested the Government of India for inclusion of the project in the prioritized list of PMKSY/AIBP projects.
The project, when implemented, will enable the up-stream Ranjit Sagar Dam project power station to act as a peaking station, besides having its own generation capacity of 206 MW and irrigation benefit of 37,173-hectare CCA to Punjab and J&K states. It will enable the country to fully utilize the Ravi water as per the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, according to the spokesperson. It will not only deliver power and irrigation benefits to the nation worth Rs. 850 crore annually but will also prevent Ravi water going waste to Pakistan.
Capt Amarinder Singh has congratulated the Water Resource Minister and his team for their success in negotiating the mutually acceptable historic agreement.