Chandigarh, September 20: The Punjab Cabinet on Thursday ratified the agreement signed on September 8 between the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir, as well as Commissioner Indus GoI, for immediate resumption of work on the Shahpur Kandi Dam Project.

The ratification came at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, said an official spokesperson.

The project, aimed to be completed in three years, would generate 206 MW of additional Hydro Power, leading to irrigation and power benefits worth Rs.852.73 crore annually.

With the completion of the project, the Ranjit Sagar Dam would operate its optimum capacity. It would also help in regulating releases at Shahpurkandi Dam, thus helping improve irrigation facilities to the command area under Uppar Bari Doab Canal (UBDC). J&K would get its share of water from Shahpurkandi dam project through gravity.

Notably, an agreement was signed on January 20, 1979 between the Chief Ministers of Punjab and J&K regarding Thein Dam project. The new project consists of Thein Dam, which has been renamed as Ranjit Sagar Dam, and was commissioned in 2000.

Work on the main dam and head regulators had commenced in March 2013. The construction was going on in full swing when suddenly, on August 30, 2016, the J&K authorities intervened and stopped the work in J&K territory, citing the enactment of Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004, even though the Punjab Government had categorically stated that PTAA 2004 was not applicable to riparian states like J&K and Himachal Pradesh.

With the intervention of the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Prime Minister’s Office, an agreement was signed between irrigation secretaries of both the states on March 3, 2017, subject to approval by the respective Government. It was unanimously agreed that the work on the Shahpur Kandi Dam project would resume as soon as the respective state governments formally approved the decision.

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