Punjab has assured Jammu and Kashmir that it would abide by provisions of an agreement signed between the two states in 1979 regarding the Ranjit Sagar dam (RSD) project.
This assurance was given by Punjab chief secretary Rakesh Singh to J&K officials during a high-level meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. It was also conveyed that Punjab's Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, was not applicable to J&K.
As per the agreement, J&K has 20% share of electricity in the RSD project with 600MW (megawatt) installed capacity.
Taking the plea that Punjab has not fulfilled the 1979 agreement, J&K is yet to give clearance to the proposed 206MW (megawatt) Shahpur Kandi dam project on the Ravi river along the inter-state border.
Referring to the agreement, it was decided at the meeting that senior officials of irrigation departments of both states would coordinate with each other. GS Chhabra, director, generation, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), has been made the nodal officer to ensure uninterrupted water supply to J&K from the RSD project.
Both states would move the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) for fixing the tariff of electricity to be supplied to J&K from this project.
It was also decided that the design of the water regulator over the Shahpur Kandi-Ravi canal, on which two power houses for the Shahpur Kandi Dam project are to be built, would be cleared by J&K. The next meeting of officials of both states would take place on May 24.
Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, chief secretary, led the delegation of officials from J&K at Tuesday's meeting, which was also attended by principal secretaries of irrigation and finance of both states. The meeting was convened by the union secretary for water resources to resolve the deadlock between the two states.
Earlier, two scheduled meetings chief secretary-level (April 21) and chief minister-level (April 15) were cancelled by the J&K government. Subsequently, Punjab had approached the union ministry of water resources.
Rs 2,287-cr project
The Ranjit Sagar Dam project was conceived in the late 1970s, when its cost was estimated at Rs 70 crore. The foundation stone of the dam, of which the Shahpur Kandi dam is a part, was laid in 1982 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The Ranjit Sagar dam was completed at a cost of Rs 6,800 crore in 1998, but remains underutilised as the Shahpur Kandi project is yet to take off. Experts say the hypothetical losses due to delay in power generation are estimated at thousands of crores of rupees.
The estimated cost of the Shahpur Kandi project is Rs 2,287 crore, of which the PSPCL will contribute 71.39% and the state irrigation department, 28.61%. The project was cleared in 2009 as a "project of national importance" with the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.