Punjab, J&K ink pact on restarting Shahpur Kandi project

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Chandigarh : Border states Punab & Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday signed an agreement to re-start work on the Rs 2,793-crore Shahpur Kandi project.

The project, when implemented, will enable the country to fully utilize the Ravi water as per the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, according to a spokesperson.

It will not only deliver power and irrigation benefits to the nation worth Rs 850 crore annually but will also prevent Ravi water going waste to Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the signing was a "historic" event.

"The two states have decided to complete the project within three years," an official spokesperson said on Saturday.

He said 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 Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari,sought early resolution of all issues relating to this project," the spokesperson said.

The agreement was signed in Srinagar on Saturday in the presence of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and Punjab Minister for Water Resources Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria.

Shahpur Kandi Dam, an inter-state project, was approved by the Government of India as a aNational 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 Jammu and Kashmir 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 prioritized list of projects.