Wildlife Board Clears Shahpur Dam Project

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Srinagar: The standing committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given its go-ahead to multi-crore Shahpur Kandi dam project, which will benefit both Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory and Punjab.

The NBWL, in its meeting held on February 18, has given its clearance for 51.08 hectares of land falling under the Conservation Reserve for the project.

“The proposed site for construction of Shahpur Kandi Dam is strategically located on the Ravi river because the particular stretch is narrow on the said location. There is no other possible alternatives for examination to avoid the submergence of Wildlife land in the Shahpurkandi Dam Reservoir. So it is necessary for Wildlife Clearance of 51.08 ha land falling under the Conservation Reserve,” reads agenda note of the meeting.

The NBWL, according to minutes of the meeting circulated on March 8, cleared the project subject to certain conditions including that the user agency shall abide by all the directions of the Supreme Court, provisions of WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972, directions of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and orders of the government of Jammu & Kashmir in this regard.

The Shahpur Kandi dam project is located on the Ravi river in Pathankot district. Once completed, the project will generate electricity of upto 206 megawatt and provide irrigation to Punjab (5,000 hectares) and Jammu and Kashmir (32,173 hectares).

A bilateral agreement was signed between governments of Punjab and J&K in 1979 on the project. As per the agreement, construction of Ranjit Sagar Dam (Thein Dam) and Shahpurkandi dam was to be taken up by Punjab government.

The project was approved by the Union government as a national project in 2008. The work on the project started in 2013 but it was stopped in 2014 due to disagreement between J&K and Punjab.

In September 2018, both the sides signed a fresh pact to restart work on Rs 2793 crore project. (KNO)

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