Indus Water Treaty Current Affairs - 2020

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India to stop its share of water flowing into Pakistan

The Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari has said that India would fully utilise its share of unused water from rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej that has been flowing into Pakistan. The comment was made by the Minister in the backdrop of the Pulwama Terror attack which took the life of 40 CRPF soldiers.

The step towards utilising the share of India under the Indus water treaty is in the line of the steps taken by the government to corner and pressurise Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of terrorism operating from Pakistan. Earlier India had taken steps like withdrawal of MNF status to Pakistan and had increased the customs duties on imports from Pakistan.

Utilisation of Full Share

To utilise its full share of water, India would divert the water from the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) to the border states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

India has initiated the construction of a dam on the Ravi river, the Shahpur-Kandi project in Punjab.

The Ujh project Multipurpose Project in Kathua district would store water for use in Jammu and Kashmir. River Ujh is the main tributary of river Ravi. The balance water would flow through 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states.

The government would also fast-track these dam constructions to block the unutilised water through three projects at Shahpur-Kandi and a second Sutlej-Beas link in Punjab and the Ujh dam in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Union Cabinet approves implementation of Shahpurkandi Dam on river Ravi in Punjab

Union Cabinet has approved implementation of Shahpurkandi Dam Project on river Ravi in Punjab. It also has approved central assistance of Rs. 485.38 crore (for irrigation component) over five years period from 2019 to 2023. The project will be implemented by Punjab Government with central assistance. It will be completed by June 2022.

Funding

The total cost of this project is Rs. 1973.53 crore (Irrigation component: 564.63 cr, Power component: 1408.90 cr.) Out of this, Rs 485.38 cr would be provided as Central Assistance. Funding for central assistance will be made through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under existing system for funding of 99 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana- Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP) projects under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF).

Significance

This project will help minimising some of water of River Ravi which at present is going waste through Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan. It will create irrigation potential of 5,000 hectares in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in Jammu & Kashmir on completion. Besides, Punjab will be able to generate 206 MW of hydropower.

Background

Indus Waters Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 for sharing of Indus waters. According to this treaty, India got the full rights for utilization of waters of three eastern rivers namely Ravi, Beas and Satluj. Bilateral agreement was signed between Punjab and J&K in January 1979 for construction of RanjitSagar Dam (Thein Dam) and Shahpurkandi Dam by Punjab Government. RanjitSagar Dam was commissioned in August 2000.  ShahpurKandi Dam project was proposed on River Ravi. The Project was initially approved by erstwhile Planning Commission in November 2001 and was included under AIBP for funding its irrigation component. However, works could not progress much due to non-availability of funds on part of Punjab Government for power component and later interstate issues with J&K. Series of meetings were held bilaterally between both states as well as at Central Government level. Finally, agreement was reached between both states under aegis of Ministry of Water Resources in September, 2018.

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