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Despite MEA, Niti Aayog, MHA clearance, JK Govt fails to start work on CWDP
9/18/2018 10:12:18 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad
Early Times Report
Srinagar, Sept 18: Though the authorities have managed to get clearance from various central government departments, the Jammu and Kashmir government has so far failed to start work on ambitious Chinab water diversion project.
Sources told early times that in 2015, the previous coalition under its Rs 886-crore plan, "Augmentation of water supply to Jammu city from the Chenab", had approached the Department of Economic Affairs, which comes under the Union Ministry of Finance, for funding. "After which, the Department of Economic Affairs directed the state to seek clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Niti Aayog and the MHA.
Sources said that thought the MEA and Niti Aayog had given their nod in 2017 but the Union Home Ministry had not given a clearance due to security concerns.
However sources said that the MHA in June this year granted a no-objection certificate to pave way for the ambitious project.
Sources said that the project was supposed to be submitted to the Department of Economic Affairs Government of India, which could have approached Japanese International Cooperation Agency to acquire funds for the Phase-I. However not so much has been done in this regard. "It is a simple civic project, but has been made complicated by the successive governments," Sources said.
Sources said that the delay in granting permission from MHA had also stalled the plan aimed at ending perennial water crisis facing nearly two million people in J&K.
Sources said that years of delay in the Chenab water diversion project has also led to cost overrun. "In 2007, the total project cost was Rs 1,000 crore. The Phase-I was to cost Rs 500 crore, which was to be completed in 2016. However, now the Phase-I is estimated to cost Rs 824 crore," sources maintained.
Sources said that it has been seen over the years that during the peak summer, the PHE department is unable to meet the requirements of Jammu as well as other towns of the region. The total water requirement of Jammu is 65 MGD while the PHE department is able to dig out only 50 MGD. The rest 15 MGD is covered by enforcing the 'rationing of water', where residential colonies get supply on alternate days or after three days.
Sources said that under the project, 100 cusecs of water from the Chenab will be diverted at the Ranjan lift station in Akhnoor, 30 km from Jammu. It will be treated in the filtration plants on the banks of the river and carried through huge pipes till Muthi, 25 km from Akhnoor town and 8 km from the city centre, for distribution.
Under phase I, 250 million litre daily (MLD) will be lifted to cover the proposed population of 25 lakh by 2031. In phase II, 250 MLD will be lifted to meet the requirement of 37 lakh people in 2046.
Proposed in late 1980s, the first detailed project report was formulated in 2007 when the PDP-Congress coalition was governing the state. Later, the detailed environmental assessment report had led to the cancellation of funds by the Asian Development Bank in 2013-14.
Already suffering due to the discriminatory provision of the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1962 restricting J&K from using the water of its river, the scheme could help the authorities to meet the growing needs of the expanding population. The glacier-fed Chenab originates from upper Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh and passing through erstwhile Doda district is joined by several streams before entering Pakistan at the International Border in the Akhnoor sector.
However when contacted CEO ERA said: "Yes, the Project is with us. We had to seek three NOCs. Now all of them are with us. Project has been submitted to government of India, Finance ministry, we are waiting for formal approval," he said.
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