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How India Retained Ferozepur’s Masterpieces | India News

NEW DELHI: The alertness and diligence of Indian civil engineers, such as the former chief engineer of the Bikaner state, Kanwar Sain, realizing the strategic importance of the Ferozepur headwaters of the Sutlej that remain in Indian hands, led to an urgent intervention that moved the Radcliffe line to a crucial few. kilometer west. A last minute request from Jawaharlal Nehru to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, about Ferozepur, among other issues, could have delayed the Radclifffe award by a few days. When the award was announced on August 17, 1947, the entire area on the left bank with the Gang (a) canal was Indian territory, reveals a new book: ‘Indus Basin Interrupted’ by Uttam Sinha, currently with IDSA.
Using original correspondence and memoirs from key people, Sinha, who has a doctorate from JNU, says the situation was not so rosy just a week earlier. Punjab chief engineer Sarup Singh discovered on August 8 that the DC of Ferozepur had been asked to select the Tehsil headquarters outside of the area, also excluding Zira and Fazilka, a strong indication that the area was headed for the western Punjab.
Singh sent a sealed secret letter to Sain explaining the seriousness of the situation. Concerned about the prospects of Pakistan missing the masterpiece, Sain lobbied a key official, Sardar Pannikar, who had the ear of the royal Sadul Singh of Bikaner. The Maharaja was urged to use his excellent contacts with Mountbatten, as the disruption of the canals would be catastrophic for the state. The royal wrote to Mountbatten that he was very afraid that an adverse prize would “seriously harm Bikaner’s interest, as his economic life is highly dependent on the Gang Canal water supply.” Furthermore, he threatened to join Pakistan if his concerns were not heeded.
The viceroy was cold to Pannikar, who was appointed to receive him, but the official, along with Sain, spoke urgently with Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The consultations on the fateful August 11 saw Nehru forcefully informing Mountbatten that, from a strategic and irrigation point of view, it will be “more dangerous” to let Ferozepur go to Pakistan.
No area east of Sutlej should be part of Pakistan and there should be no joint control of electricity. That same night it was made public that the award would be delayed for a few days. The issues were helped by Radcliffe’s initial draft that was shown to Lala Adjudhia, chair of the central waterways commission, who briefed Patel. Radcliffe was summoned by Mountbatten and the map changed.

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