NEW DELHI: India plans to take up new projects and expedite existing ones related to water storage, major and minor irrigation and flood control on three eastern rivers under the Indus Water Treaty — Ravi, Beas, Sutlej — to stop water from flowing to Pakistan.
Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat recently stated that India has started the process to stop water from flowing to Pakistan under the norms of the Indus Water Treaty.
In response, Pakistan accused India of using water as a ‘weapon of war.’
The Centre plans to ensure that excess water in these rivers is either utilised for irrigation in the new UTs or meet water demand in states such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab.
A team of experts is expected to visit J&K once the situation normalises for planning projects and for ensuring measures for flood control, flood abatement and reducing pollution in main rivers, including Tawi and Devika.
The Jal Shakti ministry along with Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir has been working on projects to stop flow of about 2 million acre-feet of water annually.
“The works related to three major water storage and irrigation projects, construction of Shahpurkandi and Ujh multipurpose projects and the second Ravi-Beas link below Ujh, have been fast tracked,” an official said.
Storage projects to be completed in four years
He said that Shahpurkandhi will help in irrigating 37000 hectare of land in J&K and Punjab and generate 206 MW.
It is expected to be completed in next three years.
To store excess water flowing to Pakistan from river Ujha tributary of Ravi- a storage capacity of 781 million cusec of water is being created and it would be completed within 4-5 years.
“Work on Shahpurkandi started in December 2018 while detailed project report (DPR) for Ujh is ready. We are making efforts to ensure that majority of water is used in J&K only.
For that, additional area has been identified in J&K for irrigation.
"Time is needed for survey, investigations and to identify the method by which the water will be taken, whether through lifting or gravity,” said the official.
Explaining the need to improve water utilisation, the official said that if dams are ready but India is unable to utilise the water, it will go to Pakistan in a regulated manner.
“On western rivers-Indus, Jhelum and Chenab- we are allowed to have run of river dams and in that only small amount of water can be stopped. DPR for some of the projects were not found to be feasible techno commercially with hydroelectric projects as there is issue of submergence involved,” the official added.