SHAHPUR KANDI (PATHANKOT), March 8: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday rededicated to the people of the state the vital Shahpur Kandi Dam project, construction on which is all set to begin at a cost of Rs. 2073 crore.
The project has been revived with the Chief Minister’s personal efforts to resolve all pending issues with the Jammu & Kashmir government. Of the estimated cost, which is in addition to the Rs 640 crore already spent till 2014, Rs. 1408 crore would be spent on the power component, with 100 percent share of Punjab Government, and Rs. 685 crore on the irrigation component, with a share of Rs. 485 crore to be contributed by Government of India and Rs. 179.28 crore by the State Government.
The Chief Minister, while announcing that the project would be completed within three years, said it would result in increased irrigated of 5000 hectares across the state. Apart from generating clean power, the project would also improve irrigation potential of 1.18 lakh hectares of Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC), he added.
Captain Amarinder Singh further said it would reduce the water flowing into Pakistan drastically and would help save the critical water resources of the state. As many as 230 families ousted as a result of the project had been offered jobs and another 34 would be given jobs shortly, he added. The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by MP Sunil Jakhar and MLA Bhoa Joginder Pal, personally handed over appointment letters to five wards of the oustees for the Shahpur Kandi Dam.
Asserting that the border belt up to Shahpur Kandi would be one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the world, the Chief Minister said that the project would also give impetus to tourism besides supplementing the income of residents in the region. With the construction of the Shahpur Kandi Dam, the historic Mukteshwar Temple would also be saved from submergence by creating a retaining wall, he added.
Holding the Akalis responsible for the complete mess prevailing in the state, the Chief Minister said that there was Rs. 43,000 crore debt when they came to power in 2007 and it had crossed Rs. 2.10 lakh crore over 10 years of their rule, with no development at all in the state.
Conceding a demand put forth by MP Sunil Jakhar, the Chief Minister also announced 60 kms of new roads for Dhar area to be laid by the Mandi Board. He also announced a Government Girls College for Jugial, besides a Sewerage project for Sujanpur to provide basic amenities to the residents of the region. The Chief Minister announced that an ITI would be established in Dhar, for which tenders had already been called. He also assured to resolve the problem of shortage of doctors in the area.
Earlier, Power Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar described the dam project as a historic initiative of Captain Amarinder Singh. He said that the water currently flowing to Pakistan would be utilized by the farmers in Punjab after the completion of the project.
In his address, Sunil Jakhar said it was the landmark decision of the State Government to restart the work on Shahpur Kandi Dam, which was halted in 2014. He said that Captain Amarinder Singh had taken a personal initiative to get this project revived, which will benefit Punjab and J&K. He said that former PM Manmohan Singh had announced this project as a National Project, which was not followed up by the SAD-BJP Government. With the slogan of 1Congress Leyao, Desh Bachao’, Jakhar appealed the people to bring Congress to power at the Centre to save the country from internal and external aggressions.
On the occasion, Captain Amarinder Singh and Jakhar, along with MLAs Joginder Pal and Amit Vij, planted a sapling at the site besides taking a view of the site.
Pertinently, the Shahpur Kandi Dam Project is being constructed on River Ravi, 11 KM downstream of Ranjit Sagar Dam Project and 7 KM up stream of Madhopur Head works. During February 2008, the Government of India declared the Shahpurkandi Dam Project as “National Project” along with 13 other Projects. Construction work was going on in full swing and proposed to be completed by July 2017, but due to the intervention of the J&K Authority, the work in J&K Territory was stopped on August 30, 2014 under the guise of Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004. It was with the persistent efforts of the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government and the intervention of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, along with Govt. of India/PMO, all issues were finally resolved through an agreement signed on September 8, 2018 between the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and J&K.
MLA Pathankot Amit Vij, Gurdaspur MLA Barindermeet Singh Pahra, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh and Principal Secretary Water Resources Sarvjit Singh, Chairman Powercom Baldev Singh Sran and Chief Engineer Ranjit Sagar Dam Jagmohan Nagi were present at the ceremony today.