J-K, Punjab to resume work on major dam

Days before its annual Indus Water Commission meeting with Pakistan in Lahore, India has stepped up efforts to build infrastructure to utilise its legitimate share of water from the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) of the Indus system. Giving impetus to the move, two states, Jammu - Kashmir and Punjab, have reached an agreement to resume work on the ambitious Shahpur Kandi dam project.
The 55.5 m high dam, located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, will help in providing irrigation to 5,000 hectares of land in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in J&K, besides generation of 206 MW power. The construction of Shahpur Kandi project was taken up in May 1999 but halted in 2014 due to the dispute between Punjab and J&K.

The move to resume work will give a boost to the country's strategy to utilise its entire share of water under the Indus Water Treaty.

Though India had decided not to engage with Pakistan through the Indus Water Commission post-Uri terror attack last year, it has recently decided to resume the dialogue through the commission, whose next meeting will be held in Lahore later this month. The commission is a mechanism to resolve any dispute between the two countries over sharing of waters of the Indus river system under the IWT. Under the IWT, signed between the two countries in 1960, the waters of eastern rivers are allocated to India. Though India is under obligation to let the water of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) flow, it is permitted to construct storage of water on western rivers up to 3.6 million acre ft.

India has, however, not developed any storage facility so far. India has also not tapped its full quota of water under the treaty .

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