Ravi waters to give Jammu economy a turn around:Taj

Jammu, March 14 (Scoop News) – Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control  Taj Mohi-ud-Din today expressed the hope that  the construction of Rs. 275 crore balance portion of Ravi canal upstream Basantpur in Kathua district  would usher in an era of productive agriculture and growth in the State particularly Jammu province. He said dredging in Jhelum is being started after 40 years with the procurement of 2 modern dredges recently.

            Winding up the discussion on demand of grants for the departments under his charge, the Minister said all necessary requirements for starting the project have been completed. He said the technical and legal opinions were sought, and the cabinet in principle also agreed to the project. He said tenders have been floated for the project and work is expected to be started soon.

            Giving a detailed perspective of the project to the House,  Taj said J&K had its share of .04MAF over Ravi waters before 1947 and after the signing of Inter State Water Agreement of 1955, the State was given an additional share of .65MAF. He said for this Ravi Tawi Canal Project was conceived with 83 kms length and 320 kms long distributory network. He said Punjab did not honor its commitment of giving 20 percent power, 12 percent jobs and Rs. 66 crore balance amount from Ranjit Sagar Dam when it was completed. The J&K had contributed 1.10 lakh canals, submerging 22 villages of Kathua district for the project, he added.

             Taj said the present government took the bold decision of constructing the balance portion of the canal. He said Rs. 20 crore have already been earmarked by the planning department for the purpose and the cabinet has also agreed to allocate 10 percent of the water usage charges to at collected by the State. He thanked Chief Minister  Omar Abdullah for this support. He said on its completion, the project would irrigate 1.33 lakh acres of land in Jammu Province, benefit 7 lakh population and help in producing 2.66 thousand tonnes of food grains. This, he said, would hopefully give the economy of Jammu a certain turn around.

            The Minister said with the diversion of 500 cusecs of water from Tawi into Ranbir and Pratap Canals the problem of irrigation water not reaching the tail ends has been addressed. He said with the construction of lake at Tawi in the Jammu city not only would the aesthetic grandeur of the city be enhanced but also provide ponding of adequate water to be used whenever necessary.

            Terming Jhelum as a symbol of heritage of Kashmir  Taj said the 1905 built Chattabal weir has been repaired and made functional and a constant 10 feet water level maintained. He said the beautification of Jhelum embankments has been extended to Dobjighat for which financial closure has also been achieved.

            The Minister said flood management in Kashmir Valley has been taken up again and 2 new dredges have been procured recently. He said after 40 years dredging would be started in the River Jhelum. Similarly he said the flood channel has been de-silted after 38 years. He said Wullar conservation programme taken up last year is expected to restore its boundaries to the original and even save enough water for winters to enhance the power generation levels from present 10 percent to 60 percent.  This, he said, would earn the State additional Rs 70 crores as water usage charges.

            The Minister said owing to the greater demand of ground water in coming years the State has undertaken maping of ground water resources within its boundaries. He said the study has been done through remote sensing at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crores and the ground water atlas thus prepared would be ready soon for reference.

             Taj said for the next five years a Rs. 2000 crores irrigation project for orchards has been submitted to the Center for funding under AIBP Scheme. He said water supply schemes are being completed in phased manner.

            On casual labourers the Minister said the department has adopted a policy of their regularization under which they have to submit treasury receipts of last three years to the department.  He said around 5000 such workers have been regularized in Jammu Province and an equal number in Kashmir. He said all those people whose lands were taken over for constructing water supply schemes would be adjusted in the department on the production of certified land papers from the concerned Tehsildars and AEE’s.

             Rafi Ahmed Mir,  R. S. Sharma,  Harshdev Singh, Vikar Rasool, Durga Dass,  Hakim Mohammad Yaseen,  Ashwani Sharma,  Ashok Khajuria,  Javeed Mustafa,  M. Y. Tarigami,  G. A. Mir, Er. Abdul Rashid,  Sajad Ahmed Kitchloo,  Charanjeet Singh,  Jugal Kishore,  Mohammad Khalil Band,  Yashpal Kundal, Mrs. Indu Pawar, Mir Saifullah, Peer Mansoor Hussain,  Bharat Bushan,  Nazir Ahmed Gurezi,  Balwant Singh Mankotia, Chowdhry Mohammad Ramzan, Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, Syed Basharat Buhkhari, Abdul Majid Wani,  G. M.Saroori,  Mohammad Sharif Niaz, Mohammad Ashraf Ganai,  Mrs. Bimla Luthra, Krishan Chander Bhagat,  Ashok Kumar and Mushtaq Ahmed Shah took part in the discussion on demand of grants and appreciated the steps taken by the Minister for strengthening the services and infrastructure in the department and reviving many old and ambitious projects of the State.

            All the members who had move cut motions on the grants withdrew them on the satisfactory reply of the Minister.

            Later, the House passed the grants of Rs. 179275.87 lakhs to defray the charges which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 2013.