JK Uses Only Half Of Allowed Water Share For Irrigation

JK Uses Only Half Of Allowed Water Share For Irrigation

12 May 2012
Greater Kashmir
Akshay Azad

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir has failed to utilize even the permissible limit of the irrigation water under the controversial Indus Water Treaty. While the IWT permits Jammu and Kashmir to use the waters of the rivers covered under the treaty to irrigate 17.03 lakh acres of land but the state is utilizing the waters of three rivers- Chenab, Jehlum and Sindh - to irrigate just 8 lakh acres, informed sources told Greater Kashmir. “There is a huge gap of water for 9.03 lakh acres, which J&K has over all these years allowed to flow down for its failure to utilize the same,” they said. The reason for the same being that the state government through its entire irrigation network of canals in both Kashmir and Jammu regions has so far been able to bring only 8 lakh acres of land under irrigation. “Along with the running water irrigation potential of 13.43 lakh acres, IWT also permits J&K to irrigate 3.6 lakh acres through storage of water, but state has not been able to harness even a bit of that share too. Till date state has only used a negligible portion of this potential,” sources said. As per the IWT conditions, the state can use water for irrigation of land upto 3.6 acres by storage, sources said, adding that it was mentioned in the treaty that the same water would again be released into the tributaries of the rivers so that there would be no decrease in overall discharge in the rivers. IWT was inked by India and Pakistan in 1960, but there seems to be no progress on part of the state government to initiate any major scheme to use the share in the last five decades. Sources further said that if the state would use its share of water for irrigation purposes, then the irrigated agricultural area would increase to more than its double. “With increase in irrigation facility there is every possibility of great increase in food production in the state which would also help the state to become self-sufficient in food grains production,” they said, adding that presently there was not any major project of state government to use its share as per IWT. They further said that some small schemes were in the pipeline by Irrigation department but still there was no major project. “The state government has constructed the Bursar project which would be the first of its kind by which it could harness the irrigation potential by the storage of water,” they said. Pertinently IWT also permits unrestricted use of waters of rivers by J&K government for the generation of hydro-electric power, but the same is governed by the relevant provisions in the treaty concerning the design, construction and operation of the proposed hydro-electric plants.