Leh: After being stalled due to threats from the Chinese side of Line of Actual Control, work on an irrigation project along the Indus river in the border town of Nyoma in north of Jammu and Kashmir has resumed with additional security cover provided by Indian forces.
"The work has begun again from September 23," Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Chief Executive Councillor Rigjin Spalbar told a news agency today over phone from Mumbai.
The work could be started only after Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), a border guarding force along the Sino-Indian border, deployed additional strength in the remote border town, 170 km from here. The work on the project continues daily between 8 am and 5 pm.
The work was stalled here in the middle of August after armed Chinese People Liberation Army (PLA) personnel came up to the banks of Indus river and reportedly asked the contractor to stop the work on the irrigation project on the Kuyul-Gomba-Yardol-Thuksey Irrigation Scheme in the Nyoma Block.
Taken aback by the Chinese Army`s attempts to interfere, LAHDC shot off letters to ITBP and Leh-based 14 Corps seeking protection for the contractors to complete the project that was started in 2006. The Kuyul-Gomba-Yardol-Thuksey irrigation scheme was sanctioned under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in 2005-06 at a cost of Rs 63.80 lakh.
Under the scheme, water will be lifted from the river and released into a nearly 4-km long canal to provide irrigation facility and drinking water.
However, only 1.8 km of canal has been constructed till date.
Spalbar said, "We have made it clear that the project is aimed for providing drinking water to people only and has nothing to do with any defence or Army".
He said they were trying to finish off the work at the earliest though chances of the project getting delayed beyond this winter were likely as more than six weeks were lost in the stand-off due to Chinese Army`s threats.
"They (Chinese Army) had no business to interfere," he said.
Army spokesperson at Udhampur-based Northern Command and ITBP refused to comment on the issue.
The region is known for repeated incursions by the Chinese Army but this time the troops reportedly came armed with their weapons and warned the labourers to stop the work on the scheme.