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Dam to stop flow of Ravi water into Pak
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
India plans to revive its project to build a dam over the Ravi in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. A formal Memorandum of Understanding between Punjab and the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) is slated to be signed on Friday. The dam will be located at Shahpur Kandi on the Punjab and Jammu Kashmir border. The dam will help fully utilise the potential of the river and not allow its waters to flow into Pakistan.

Under the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 the Ravi is allocated for “full use” of India.

The NHPC will prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for which a sum of Rs 1.05 crore has been sanctioned by the Punjab Government.

The project has been hanging in the balance for one reason or the other. It may be recalled that lack of funds has derailed the progress of the dam which started in May, 1999. Partial work was carried out but it has been held up since then.

The project has been long ago cleared by the Union Environment Ministry and also has the approval of the Planning Commission of India. The Union cabinet granted its approval in 1995 when the late Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister.

With a height of 54.5 m and a length of 725 m, the concrete dam will help in full utilisation of the Ravi. It will generate more than 350 MW of power, besides helping irrigate 32,000 hectares in J&K and augment intensive irrigation in 3.46 lakh hectares in Punjab.

Punjab is keen to have NHPC build the dam on a Turnkey basis.

The state of J&K is expected to share the cost of the dam which is expected to cost Rs 1800 crore.

Financial institutions are ready pump in money as this will be a low cost dam when long-term gains of power costs are calculated. The dam site has easy access and there will be no overhead costs in sending equipment or material. Also, issue of re-settlement is not there as the lands have already been acquired in Punjab and also in areas of the reservoir area which falls in Jammu and Kashmir.

While explaining the benefits of the dam engineers said when the turbines at Ranjit Sagar Dam - located upstream — run full steam, 24,000 cusecs of water is discharged. The Madhopur headworks and the existing canal systems do not have capacities to hold so much of water and it flows into Pakistan. The overflowing water will be stored in the reservoir at Shahpur Kandi.

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