Pathankot: The Shahpurkandi dam project will reduce the outflow of the Ravi river water to Pakistan once it is completed, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday said. The Rs 2,700 crore Shahpurkandi dam project, being set up on the Ravi river, will generate 206 MW of power, besides having the potential to irrigate 5,000 hectares of land in Punjab and 31,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sambha and Kathua districts. “This water, which was supposed to irrigate fields in Punjab and J-K, was going towards Pakistan. This project will reduce the water flowing into Pakistan drastically and will help save the critical water resources of the state,” Singh said while addressing the gathering here.
The chief minister, who was here for rededicating the project to people of Punjab, said it will be completed in three years. Of the estimated cost, which is in addition to Rs 640 crore already spent till 2014, Rs 1,408 crore would be spent on the power component, with 100 per cent share of the Punjab government, and Rs 685 crore on the irrigation component, with a share of Rs 485 crore to be contributed by the central government and Rs 179.28 crore by the state government.
The Shahpurkandi dam project is being constructed on the Ravi river, 11 km downstream of the Ranjit Sagar Dam project and 7 km up stream of Madhopur Head works. The Shahpurkandi dam project was described as a “national project” by the Centre in 2008. However, this project, which was initially a Punjab and J-K joint venture, was held up in year 2014. The work was stopped by J-K authority on August 30, 2014 on its side “under the guise” of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004, as per an official release.
However, after the intervention of the Centre, both Punjab and the J-K governments signed an agreement in September last year to restart the work on the project. The project will be monitored by a team comprising a Central Water Commission member and chief engineers from the two states. Singh said as many as 230 families ousted as a result of the project were offered jobs and another 34 would be given jobs shortly.
The chief minister, who was accompanied by MP Sunil Jakhar and MLA Bhoa Joginder Pal, personally handed over appointment letters to five employees recruited for the Shahpurkandi dam construction. Asserting that the border belt up to Shahpurkandi would be one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the world, Singh said the project would also give impetus to tourism, besides supplementing the income of residents in the region.
With the construction of the Shahpurkandi dam, the historic Mukteshwar Temple would also be saved from submergence by creating a retaining wall, he added.