J&K gives green signal to Punjab for restarting Shahpur Kandi project after 3 years

The J&K government has finally agreed to let Punjab restart the work on 168 MW Shahpur Kandi dam project over the Ravi River after a long gap of three years. The green signal was given to the project after meeting of J&K council of ministers on Wednesday after which the decision was conveyed to Punjab government the very next morning.

The decision was taken after a series of meetings between officials of Punjab and J&K, and the intervention of Prime Minister's Office (PMO). As per the experts, the work on this project will take a month's time to start as few logistics need to be worked out beforehand.

New Agreement

During March last year, the Punjab and J&K governments agreed to share water and electricity hence signed up an agreement for the resumption of work on the project.

Shahpur Kandi dam project which originally began in April 2013 was declared as a project of ‘national importance' by the Centre in 2009.

The Rs 2,287-crore Shahpur Kandi project is a twin project of 600 MW Ranjit Sagar Dam on its downstream which will help in optimum utilization of Ravi water, currently flowing into Pakistan.

In August 2014, , the J&K government objected to the ongoing work on the project thus taking the plea that Punjab might not adhere to the agreement on sharing of water and power, in the light of the Termination of Agreements Act of 2004, by which all water sharing agreements were cancelled by Punjab. As per the statistics issued by the irrigation department, 12,000 cusecs of Ravi water continuously flows into Pakistan.

The 71.39% of the total project cost has to be shared by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) while the remaining 28.61% will be shared by the state irrigation department. The PSPCL will have to raise its share on its own while the project cost shared by the irrigation department will come as a grant from the Union ministry of water resources.

Project visualization in 70s

The Ranjit Sagar dam is currently generating 325 MW of power and the project was conceived in late 1970s when its total cost was estimated around Rs 70 crore only. The first agreement was signed in 1979 between the then Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and the then J&K CM Sheikh Abdullah.

The Shahpur Kandi dam project was just a part of Ranjit Sagar dam in late 70s and its foundation stone was laid in , was laid in 1982 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The work of Ranjit Sagar dam was completed in 1998 at a cost of Rs 6,800 crore, but it got fully utilized as Shahpur Kandi project never took off. The experts propounded that due to the delay in projects, the government has lost thousands of crores of rupees. The Punjab government had to give a huge penalty to construction companies Soma of India and Russia-based Bureya, which are jointly executing the project because of the three year delay in the project completion


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