The Himachal Govt has decided to investigate the much hyped irregularities in the construction of the Rs 385-crore Shah Nehar irrigation project in Kangra. It was also featured prominently in the chargesheet submitted by the Congress while in the Opposition.
Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes confirmed the development and stated that the Congress led Govt would be holding a probe into the reports of alleged irregularities in the execution of Shah Nehar project.
Congress in its chargesheet had alleged about the use of sub-standard material and purchase of certain components at exorbitant rates, leading to loss and even breach at certain places. Even some BJP distracters had raised their voices and alleged wrongdoing in execution of the project and demanded probe in it. It is reported that few of them have even met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh regarding it. Prominent Prem Kumar Dhumal loyalist Ravinder Singh Ravi was the IPH Minister during the BJP regime and many BJP leaders from Kangra district have raised voices against him during his tenure as minister and were very vocal about the wrongdoing in it.
The agreement for the construction of the Shah canal was signed between Punjab and Himachal in 1983. The initial cost of the project was Rs 143 crore, which on account of cost escalation has shot up to over Rs 385 crore. The project would provide irrigation facility to 15,287 hectares of area in the state falling on both the banks of the Beas below the Pong Dam. The project on the completion would provide irrigation facility to 93 villages in Kangra district.
As per the agreement, Himachal was to contribute 40 per cent cost, while Punjab had to bear the remaining 60 per cent. The Union Government has now contributed 90 per cent cost of the project under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, while the remaining 10 per cent has been contributed in 60:40 ratio by Punjab and Himachal.