Chandigarh:The cost of Shahpur Kandi Barrage project that was to be completed in three years on Ravi near Madhopur headworks in Pathankot district, has increased to over 18 times more in last over 22 years. The initial cost of the project, that remained in a limbo for decads, was Rs 126 crore when former Prime Minister of India P V Narsimha Rao had laid its foundation stone in 1995.
The project cost had gone over Rs 2,285 crore.
Shahpur Kandi barrage is a part of Ranjit Sagar Dam (RSD) project that was conceived in 1970s and was completed at a cost of Rs 6,800 crore in 1998. Construction work of the Barrage started in 14 but came to a haul after Jammu and Kashmir government terminated its agreement with the Punjab government over some disputes.
In 2014, the Jammu and Kashmir government had agree to resume work on the Shahpur Kandi project only after a fresh agreement on water-sharing is signed with Punjab. The crest level of the water outlet to the Ravi canal was to be raised to 398.4 metres from 397.5 metres, until then, the work was to remain suspended.
As uncertainty on when the fresh agreement will be signed continues, Punjab faces a double whammy.
The government was to pay about Rs one crore daily to the construction company, because of suspension of work, it will get no Central grant till the Jammu and Kashmir government clears the project.
In April, 2014, Punjab had sent Jammu and Kashmir a draft referring to the 1979 agreement between the two states. However, the J and K government has objected to it saying that Punjab had terminated the river water sharing agreement in 2004 and, hence, the 1979 agreement does not stand.
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