Amid growing strain in Indo-Pak ties, government is planning to fast-track four projects in Indus basin to increase irrigation area in Jammu and Kashmir by nearly 2.05 lakh acres, weeks after India decided to “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per Indus Water Treaty (IWT). Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month chaired a meeting to review the 56-year-old IWT in the aftermath of the Uri attack, asserting that “blood and water cannot flow together.”
Of these four projects, three –Tral Irrigation Project in Pulwama, Prakachik Khows Canal in Kargil and restoration and modernisation of main Ravi Canal in Jammu’s Sambha and Kathua– are expected to be completed by this fiscal. The fourth project of Rajpora Lift Irrigation is planned to be completed by December 2019. While the first three projects will help irrigate around 1.45 lakh acres of land. The Rajpora Lift Irrigation is expected to help irrigat around 59,305 acres of land in Indus basin.
All these works are expected to cost Rs 117 crore for which money will be raised by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). “Until now, as per the J&K records, seven lakh acres of land is irrigated in the state. This is a very small number. So, the government is trying to complete work on these projects to increase the size of total irrigated area in the state,” sources said.