The 15-year-old Gordian knot on who gets to keep what came almost undone during the assets distribution talks held between Uttarakhand and its parent state Uttar Pradesh recently.
Uttar Pradesh has agreed to hand over 37 canals, presently under their control, to Uttarakhand. The canals are located in Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts.
Ownership of irrigation facilities has been a bone of contention since Uttarakhand was hived off Uttar Pradesh in 2000. The irrigation departments of the two states have been fighting for 50 canals, 13,000 hectares of land, 4,000 buildings, and several barrages in Uttarakhand.
A source in the department said more than 700 cases were pending in various courts.
The ice broke after chief minister Harish Rawat called on his counterpart Akhilesh Yadav early this year and agreed to split them up amicably.
The officials of the two irrigation departments recently met in Bareilly, said Sanjay Raj, the executive engineer in Uttarakhand irrigation department.
“Similarly Uttarakhand will transfer rights of 8 canals that feed Uttar Pradesh fields but are inside the hill state,” the official said.
A joint team of officials from the two states will soon meet again after the governments issue orders.
Besides the remaining five canals that are to be divided, Uttar Pradesh also manages three big water reservoirs—Baigul, Nanaksagar and Dhora —inside Uttarakhand. No decision has been taken on them yet.
Samajwadi Party leader Vinod Barthwal who has been recently appointed by the Uttara Pradesh government as advisor to resolve the pending issues said he would “further accelerate” the process.