Recently, Punjab state and the state of Jammu & Kashmir has signed a historic agreement- construction of the Shahpur Kandi dam on river Ravi.
The interstate Shahpur Kandi Dam was approved by the central government as a ‘National Project’ in February 2008 that identified 16 major water resource development and irrigation projects under the accelerated irrigation benefits programme. Located in Gurdaspur district between the Ranjit Sagar Dam and Madhopur headworks, the project will have a 55.5-m high dam with two powerhouses with a capacity of 206 MW and an irrigation potential of 37,173 hectares.
Here is how will prove to be a boon for drough-prone Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu:
- Farmers have been waiting for this dam since 1979. But gone are the days of waiting. The project is expected to be completed in the next three years.
- With farming dependent on rains, crop failures are common in the region. About 79.5 km of Ravi canal and 493 km of distribution network in J&K constructed several years back had remained unutilised due to continuous delays in the completion of the barrage mainly on compensation and water sharing issues.
- As per the agreement the barrage to be constructed by Punjab on the Ravi would irrigate 32,000 hectares (80,000 acres) of agricultural land in J&K.
- The state is also entitled to get 41 MW of power from the project and 20 per cent of electricity generated by Thein Dam ending the chronic power crisis facing the southern parts of the state.
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- The two states have agreed to complete the project in three years at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,793 crore after a delegation of Punjab led by Minister for Water Resources Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria held talks in J&K.
- J&K shall also get full quantity of water of 1,150 cusecs.