New Delhi, Jan 11:The government of India has given special attention to stop unutilised water allotted to India under the ‘Indus Waters Treaty’ from entering Pakistan, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.
Gadkari, the minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, also signed anMoU with six chief ministers for the construction of Renukaji Multi-Purpose Dam project in the Upper Yamuna Basin.
The pact was signed with chief minister Yogi Aditynath of Uttar Pradesh, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Trivendra Singh Rawat of Uttarakhand, Manohar Lal of Haryana, Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi and Jairam Thakur of Himachal Pradesh.
Another agreement was signed for NamamiGange projects in Allahabad under Hybrid Annuity Mode and One-City-One-Operator concept by the National Mission for Clean Ganga, UP Jal Nigam and DilipPormal from Prayagraj Water Pvt. Ltd.
Addressing the gathering, Gadkari said there is enough water available in the country, but the real issue is its effective management.
“We have done one thing. The rivers awarded to India under the Indus Waters Treaty….(some portion of) our share still goes to Pakistan. The first thing we did was to arrest the (excess) water and we will take it to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan and Delhi will benefit from it,” he said.
Under the Indus Waters Treaty, waters flowing in three of Indus tributaries — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi — have been allotted to India; while the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus waters have been allotted to Pakistan.
Of the total 168 million acre-feet, India’s share of water from the three allotted rivers is 33 million acre-feet, which constitutes nearly 20 per cent. India uses nearly 93-94 per cent of its share under the Indus Waters Treaty. The rest of the water remains unutilised and goes to Pakistan.
After the Uri attack in 2016, it was decided to fast track water projects to arrest the unutilised water.
The three projects to arrest this water from going to Pakistan, include the ShahpurKandi dam project, a second Sutlej-Beas link in Punjab and the Ujh Dam project in Jammu and Kashmir.
An agreement has been signed on one project and there is a progress in other two projects, Gadkari said.
Terming the signing of agreement for Renukaji Dam project a historic moment, Gadkari said that the government will try to get the Cabinet approval as soon as possible.
He added that a consensus on KishauMulti-Purpose project on Yamuna river has also been developed and soon an agreement for it will also be signed.
He also informed about the LakhwarMulti-Purpose project for which agreement was signed on August 28 among six basin states.
Gadkari said that these projects will benefit all basin states and it is a “win-win situation” for everyone.
“Delhi will not face drinking water issues for the next 50 years. Rajasthan, which is at the tail end, will also get water for drinking and irrigation.”
He added that these projects will also ensure more flow in River Yamuna which is the need-of-the-hour.
Renukaji Dam project has been conceived as a storage project on Giri River (tributary of river Yamuna) in Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh. The project envisages construction of 148 M high rock filled dam for supply of 23 cumecs water to Delhi and other basin states.
The project will also generate 40 MW of power during peak flow and will be executed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (HPPCL).
The live storage of Renukaji MPP is 0.404 million acre feet (MAF) and total submergence area is about 1508 hectares in the territory of Himachal Pradesh.
Stored water of Renukaji Dam will be used by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi from the Hathnikund Barrage, by Delhi from Wazirabad Barrage and by UP, Haryana and Rajasthan from the Okhla Barrage.
The share of these states is as follows: Haryana, Uttar Pradesh/Uttarkhand and Himchal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi will get 47.82 per cent, 33.65 per cent, 3.15 per cent, 9.34 per cent and 6.04 per cent respectively.
Not holding simultaneous elections will impact voter turnout in LS polls: Experts
Srinagar, Mar 19: Not holding Assembly and Parliamentary polls together is likely to impact the overall voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the valley, claim valley based experts in politics.
This year many new parties have come to the fore and the Centre is likely to enhance its deployment of forces in Kashmir to ensure “violence free elections.”
However with spontaneous disturbance across the valley coupled with delaying of the Assembly elections by the Centre, the experts claim a major proportion of the people are likely to keep away from casting their votes.
“Parliamentary election in Kashmir usually invite low voter turnout. Had it been both Lok Sabha and General Assembly elections held together in the state the voter turnout could be expected higher. As of now, we don’t see chances of any major turn out in voting ahead especially in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University.
Wani expressed doubt over the participation of newly formed parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I am not sure if these smaller parties will field their candidates. Even if their leaders file nomination, people won’t vote for them in huge proportion compared to the two main political parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP),” Wani said.
“Many parties will use this election to mobilise people for the upcoming assembly elections,” he said.
In 2014 LS polls, 49.7 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir. Barring Jammu, people mostly in Kashmir prefer to choose boycott over ballot as only 11.46% voter turnout was recorded in summer capital.
In 2017 by-polls, the turnout in Srinagar dipped further to only seven percent as violence and killing gripped the valley on poll day.
Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, another expert in politics, claims the parliamentary elections in Kashmir won’t be a “bigger affair” as he believes that there are less “reaction” votes from the valley.
“In other states people vote to express their dissent, which is not in case of Kashmir. Some people will vote here positively. The turnout is expected to be higher in Assembly polls ahead,” he said.
Prof Baba said the emergence of new parties too won’t woo many people to cast their vote for them.
“These new parties won’t have much impact immediately. Sajad Lone has no appeal outside Baramulla and Shah Faesal too can’t make a bigger difference. However, if NC and Congress form an alliance then some may come out to vote,” he said.
Slow repair work halts cross-LoC trade in Uri
Traders fear losses in crores
Srinagar, Mar 19: The Cross-LoC trade in Uri has hugely suffered due to snail-paced repair work on the Kamaan Post Bridge, traders rued on Tuesday.
As per them, around 116 trucks are stuck at Uri road in north Kashmir while 24 others are stranded at Traders Federation Center Salamabad. The stranded trucks are carrying delicate items including fruits and vegetables which cannot be preserved for long course of time.
Aggrieved over the losses, the Cross-LoC Traders Association claimed that the delicate goods in stranded trucks have been damaged due to the delay.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Hilal Turki, chairman, Cross-LoC Traders’ Association, said the items in the trucks have almost “perished” as around two weeks have passed since the repairing work started.
“The losses might be in crores as there are 140 trucks stranded. We have written to the Director General of Police to seek the intervention for speedy repairing of the bridge,” he said.
In a letter to government authorities, the association stated: “Our traders mostly deal with fresh items and the value of those items is in millions of rupees, here we would like to bring in your kind notice that most of the products come from all over the country and as such our loaded fresh trucks remain in transit for a week or more due to this uncomfortable situation our traders are desperately waiting for speedy repairing of Kamaan Pull so that heavy losses can be saved.”
Earlier on March 9, police communicated to the concern authorities that due to the sustained use of Kaman Aman Setu for cross-LoC trade for a long period, the bridge has suffered some damages which requires immediate repair to prevent further deportation.
“Inspection of the bridge was carried out on March 8, 2019, which indicated that the bridge needs urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure its longevity. The repair would require minimum 10-15 days,” he said.
However, around two weeks after, the repair work is still on at a very slow pace.
Riyaz Malik, SDM, Uri told The Kashmir Monitor that the resurfacing work in Kamaan Post bridge is going on. “Trade is suspended since then as work is going on and it will take 10-15 more days to allow traffic on the bridge. We have advised the traders to get the items down some where in Srinagar,” Riyaz said.
Cross-LoC trade and the bus service between India and Pakistan were suspended last month too, in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
Centre misusing NIA to target Kashmiris: Soz
Srinagar, Mar 19: Alleging that Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to target Kashmiris, senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said this will be useless and counter-productive.
The former union minister supported chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has asked NIA to question him in Srinagar as he cannot travel Delhi for security reasons.
In a statement here this afternoon, Prof Soz said, “I give credence to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand that he should be questioned anywhere in Srinagar and not asked to travel to NIA headquarters in Delhi”.
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