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The Shahpur Kandi Barrage, a major irrigation and hydroelectric project on the Ravi River bordering Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, has finally neared completion after facing hurdles for three decades. This marks a significant development as it diverts 1150 cusecs of water previously flowing to Pakistan towards irrigating over 32,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and Samba districts.

The project, initiated by then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1995, encountered numerous delays due to disputes between the J&K and Punjab governments. However, with the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh in 2018, the project was revived after a four-and-a-half-year suspension.

This multi-purpose project, estimated to cost Rs. 3300 crore, offers multiple benefits:

  • Irrigation: 1150 cusecs of water will irrigate lands in J&K, while Punjab will receive over 5000 cusecs.
  • Hydropower: The project will generate 206 MW of electricity, primarily benefiting Punjab.
  • Tourism: The site is expected to attract tourists.

Dr. Singh criticized previous J&K governments for stalling the project due to political reasons, despite its potential to benefit the Jammu region. He credited Prime Minister Modi’s intervention and the project’s designation as national under Governor’s Rule for its expeditious completion.

This development marks a significant milestone in utilizing the Ravi River’s water resources for both irrigation and power generation, while also addressing concerns about equitable water distribution between states.