Work To Resume on Ravi Dam

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NEW DELHI: The Union government has persuaded Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir to resume work on the stalled Shahpurkandi dam project, which comes under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, so that India can make better use of its water rights.

The work on the 206mw hydroelectricity project on the Ravi river, which was stalled after a dispute between Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir over its design, will “resume soon”, an official statement said.

Punjab’s irrigation secretary K S Pannu and his Jammu & Kashmir counterpart Saurabh Bhagat signed a pact on Friday evening in the presence of Union water resources secretary Amarjit Singh here on Friday evening.

The Permanent Indus Commission, which has members from India and Pakistan, is expected to meet later this month to discuss various issues related to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), which had come under strain last year after the September 18 attack on an army camp in Uri that left 19 soldiers dead.

India had also decided to exercise its rights under the treaty by increasing the use of the basin river waters—the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab in the west and Sutlej, Beas and Ravi in the east.

India has not fully used its share of the river waters until now.

“It was unanimously agreed that the work on the Shahpur Kandi dam would resume soon after both the governments (of Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir) formally approve the agreed decisions,” the statement said.

A water resources ministry official said the state governments would have to ratify the agreement for the project work to resume.

Work on the Shahpurkandi project, located in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, was taken up in May 1999 but stopped in 2014 following a dispute between the two states.

The project, given a “national” tag, by was projected to cost around Rs 2,285.81 crore at April 2008 prices.

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