SRINAGAR The governments of Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir Saturday signed an agreement to resume work on the Rs 2,793 crore Shahpur Kandi dam 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, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, sought early resolution of all issues relating to this project.
A 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 officials of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and signed the agreement.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhawan in Srinagar, the spokesperson said.
The 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 2,285.81 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 2,793.54 crore and requested the government of India for inclusion of the project in the prioritised list of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)/ Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (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 to Punjab and J&K.
It will enable the country to fully utilise the Ravi water as per the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, according to the spokesperson.
It will deliver power and irrigation benefits to the nation worth Rs 850 crore annually, he said.