Srinagar: The state government on Friday said that it has managed to get clearance from various central government departments to start the work on much awaited Chenab water diversion project.
One of the top officials in the civil secretariat said that the Government of India has given its clearance to go ahead with the project.
“Yes, the MHA, MEA, Niti Aayog has given its clearance. Now, the project has been submitted to the central government. As soon as we get the funds, the work will be started,” said the official.
Sources said 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 though the MEA and Niti Aayog had given their nod but the Union Home Ministry had not given a clearance due to security concerns. However added that the MHA now granted a no-objection certificate to pave way for the ambitious project.
Sources maintained that the government has now submitted the project to the Department of Economic Affairs Government of India, which will approach Japanese International Cooperation Agency to acquire funds for the Phase-I.
The delay in granting permission from MHA had 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.
Moreover, sources pointed out that it has been seen over the years that during the peak summer, the PHE department is unable to meet the requirements in 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.
(With inputs from KNS)