J&K government hopes zonal meet addresses its concerns on disputes with neighbouring states
The J&K government is planning to raise its disputes with the neighbouring states in the Northern Zonal Council meeting that it is hosting on September 27.
Host state airing its problem could embarrass Punjab through which J&K has access to the country’s mainland. Srinagar has consistently accusing Punjab of skipping implementing the 1955 agreement on water and power.
The issues pertaining to the J&K properties under threat by official and unofficial encroachers might also be taken up, sources in the government said.
Punjab, Himachal, Rajasthan, NCR of Delhi, UT of Chandigarh, and Haryana are members of the council. Usually chief ministers represent their states. Srinagar is hosting the council meeting after a gap of five years and barring two chief ministers, almost everybody has confirmed participation.
The council is the main platform within the northern states to focus on areas of common interest and seek solution to the pending issues. The officials said they have already framed a list of issues that will be taken up in the meeting. Most of the issues are with Punjab.
J&K government has signed two agreements with Punjab regarding the implementation of ambitious Ranjit Sagar dam and the power project that would by fed by its waters. The first agreement that the leaders signed on January 29, 1955 was about sharing the discharge from Ravi river. The deal gave J&K 0.65 million acre feet (MAF) over and above its pre-partition share of 0.04 MAF from the Ravi and the Beas rivers. Punjab started implementing Thein (Ranjit Sagar) dam in 1957.
Almost six years after, J&K started drawing 0.215 MAF using the Kathua canal. The balance share of 0.475 MAF, according to 1955 agreement was to be supplied partly from free flow supplies and partly from storage of Ravi water respectively as 0.285 MAF and 0.19 MAF. The storage availability was only possible after construction of Thein Dam.
On its part, J&K government in May 1972 formulated the idea of constructing 82 kms long Ravi Canal between the proposed dam and Chak Salarian, a village in Vijapur.
Work started on this canal in 1975 from its proposed tail end. But Punjab faced a problem. It could not set up the project unless it was supposed by Himachal Pradesh and more importantly by the J&K.