The signs of changing themes of Kashmir politics are evident the way Peoples Democratic Party- PDP- has intensified its campaign for modernising the canal system in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the Union Government to help in the matter as the Indus Water Treaty has kept the adequate gains of water resources off the people of the State.
PDP has sought Central Government's financial and technical support for the modernisation of major irrigation canals in Jammu and Kashmir.
PDP President and Member Parliament, Mehbooba Mufti called on the Union Minister for Water Resources, Saif-ud-Din Soz in New Delhi on Saturday to discuss the issue. During her meeting, she focused on the losses the people of the State have suffered because of the Indus Water Treaty, said a party spokesman, who issued details of her meeting with Soz to press in Jammu.
She said the modernisation project of five major irrigation canals in the State namely Martand Canal, Mawkhul, Nadi Canal, Babul Canal, Dadi Canal, Pratap Canal and Ranbir Canal is lingering on for the past more than two to three decades because of non-availability of resources.
Mufti said the "inordinate delay in the execution of the modernization projects is hampering the State's growth as it is not able to exploit the irrigation potential of these canals to the optimum levels. She said because of "the restrictions put on the tapping of its water resources under the discriminatory Indus Water Treaty, the State Government is also not in a position to take up new irrigation projects."
"In view of these damaging restrictions under IWT, the only option left with the State Government, is to fully exploit the potential of the existing irrigation canals," she said. She added this could be achieved by accomplishing the modernisation projects for which the State is in dire need of the necessary resources.
Mufti said, "Given the sacrifices Jammu and Kashmir is making because of IWT, the Union Government should take a considerate view on the matter and make available adequate resources for the modernisation of the irrigation canals in the State."
"The Union Water Resources Minister has assured Mufti that the matter would be considered on priority so that Jammu and Kashmir gets adequate resources for the modernisation of irrigation canals to facilitate its growth through increased agriculture production."