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Jai Ram Thakur assures start of Renukaji dam construction within 2019

Jai Ram Thakur assures start of Renukaji dam construction within 2019
The Renukaji dam multipurpose project will cost around Rs 7,000 crore. Image Credit: Wikimedia

The construction of a water storage dam in Himachal Pradesh that will provide water to the national capital and five other states will commence by the year-end, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Wednesday. The Renukaji dam multipurpose project will cost around Rs 7,000 crore.

Replying to a question in the Assembly, he said the state would take care of the project-affected people. The dam will be built on the Giri river in the upper Yamuna basin in Sirmaur district, adjoining Uttarakhand.

It will also generate 40 MW of electricity for Himachal Pradesh and meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, besides Himachal Pradesh. Officials told IANS that a large number of people in the state would be affected by the construction of the dam.

Currently, the land acquisition process is on and the state has challenged the enhanced land compensation awarded by a lower court in the state High Court. The matter is still pending. Gathered under the banner of the Renuka Bandh Jan Sangharsh Samiti, the project-affected villagers told IANS that the government had not taken them into confidence before starting the land acquisition process.

They are claiming that more than 700 families from 37 villages will be affected. The Chief Minister also said that the Central Water Commission had cleared the project cost at Rs 4,596.76 crore as per the estimate in 2015.

"Now on the directive of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, another estimation is being done and it is estimated to cost around Rs 7,000 crore. This estimation is under the perusal of the Central Water Commission," he said. After the cost estimation is over, the project will be sent to the technical advisory committee for approval.

Finally, the project proposal will be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. The Central government will allocate funds for the project only after that, he said. Official sources told IANS that with the construction of the dam the flow of the Giri river would increase by about 110 per cent. That will meet the drinking water needs of the beneficiary states.

The Centre will provide 90 per cent cost of the irrigation and drinking water component of the project and the rest 10 per cent will be borne by the six states. Water from the Renuka dam will be released into the Yamuna river, from where it will flow to Haryana's Hathinikund barrage and finally reach Delhi. The project had hit roadblocks repeatedly since an agreement was signed on May 12, 1994.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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