Ahead of the annual meeting of Indus Water Commission with Pakistan at Lahore, the Centre has persuaded Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) governments to work together on the stalled Shahpur Kandi Dam. The 55.5 metre high hydroelectricity project, located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab was taken up in May 1999 but halted in 2014 due to dispute of design between Punjab and J&K. The two states have ironed out their differences with Punjab’s irrigation secretary K.S.Pannu and his J&K counterpart Saurabh Bhagat signed a pact in front of Union water resources secretary Amarjit Singh in New Delhi.
Post the Uri terror attack last year, India had refused to engage in dialogue with Pakistan through the Indus Water Commission. The Commission is a mechanism to address any dispute over sharing of waters of the Indus river system. The Permanent Indus Commission which has members from both India and Pakistan is expected to meet in Lahore, later this month.
Aside from generating 206 MW of power, the dam is expected to aid in irrigation of 5000 hectares of land in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in J&K. As a part of the Indus Water treaty signed in 1960, India intends to use Indus basin river waters – the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab in the west and Sutlej, Beas and Ravi in the east.