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Sikhs have made Australia their home for about 100 years

Religious needs of the Sikh community have been honored, by the gazettal of a separate Sikh cremation place in 1932

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Sikh community celebrating Vaishakhi. Wikimedia

History says that many years ago, Indians came to Australia to run camel trains. These Indians were Afghans and they used to keep the supply line and communication open between the Centre of Australia and Melbourne. The goods and mail were transported using camels through the desert.

Later, the Punjabis came, got involved in the Victorian fields and took part in the rush for gold. Apart from them, Muslims from North Western Punjab region worked as camel drivers in the Central Australian dessert. Since then, more Indians came to Australia more than fifty years ago while both India and Australia were British colonies.

Like many others, Tarun Preet Singh migrated to Australia in 2002 with his wife and three kids and decided to settle in Perth. He joined the Sikh Association in around 2007-2008 and volunteered as a committee member in 2009.

Tarunpreet Singh ( Photo courtesy: http://www.australiansikhheritage.com/
Tarunpreet Singh ( Photo courtesy: http://www.australiansikhheritage.com/)

He found a brass plaque in the Canningvale gurdwara managed by SAWA. After inquiring people about its existence, he came to know about the former Sikh Cemetery in Adenia Park in Riverton suburb and about Mr John Parker of Canning Districts Historical Society.

Related Article: The spirited journey of Canadian Sikhs

On meeting Mr. Parker, he came to know that the brass plaque was designed by him and that got Tanupreet curious. On further questioning, Parker told him that he made the plaque using 20 kilos of brass metal in the year 1992. To be extra safe, he had made two of them, thinking that if one gets lost or misplaced, he could use the other.

The brass plaque in the Canningvale gurdwara managed by SAWA.
The brass plaque in the Canningvale gurdwara managed by SAWA.

Through this, Singh came to know about the migration of Sikhs in Australia and that people belonging to Sikh community were an integral part of Australia for more than 100 years.

The Adenia Park site history is listed on WA State Heritage Register as of significant historic value associated with WA State Cremation Act of 1929 and undertaking of cremation. The site is one of the proofs that Sikhs have made Australia their home for a very long time. The place is a symbol of acceptance of diverse ethnic groups who tried to maintain their customs, traditions and rituals.

This is how the religious needs of the Sikh community came forward and resulted in the gazettal of a separate Sikh cremation place in 1932. There are more than 12 cremation sites present in WA but this one was allotted for the Sikh community officially by the Government.

Further, this led to the discovery of an important piece in the history of a WW-II battle on West Australian soil that the Royal Indian Air Force Flying Officer Manmohan Singh died in. The Allied forces had 22 aircrafts that were destroyed and 88 personnel died on March 3, 1942 in Broome, West Australia. The historic incident also included USAF, RAF, RAAF and Dutch Airforce.

SAWA initiated by organizing a small event annually from 2011 at the site on the first weekend of March to commemorate both these important pieces of Sikh history in WA.

Few members of the SAWA community came forward to join the vital pieces of Sikh in the history of WA and formed ASHA (Australian Sikh Heritage Association) in the year 2014.

Apart from this, ASHA is also working on various projects that will bring forth the crucial roles played by Sikhs and the contributions made by them in the development of Australia.

City of Canning came forward and offered a great support to ASHA by building a pathway costing $35k in 2016 and Lotterywest has supported them with a grant of $150k.

  • Pritam Go Green

    Sikhs are an important religious member of our society. They have established themselves in various parts of the world such as America, Australia, Iran, UK

  • Archita aggarwal

    wow!

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Three Projects Help India to Stop its Share of Water to Pakistan after Pulwama

The waters of the western rivers - the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab - averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan.

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Picture Courtesy:-www.economylead.com

The government has envisaged three projects to give intent to its decision to stop its share of water from three eastern rivers of the Indus system – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – from going to Pakistan.

The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack though the Union cabinet had approved implementation of one of the key projects – Shahpurkandi dam – in December last year.

The waters of the western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for “specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India”, according to a treaty.

India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.

pakistan, india, water ban
However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. VOA

To utilise the waters of the Eastern rivers, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.

However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. The other two projects are Ujh multipurpose project and the second Ravi Beas link below Ujh.

Here’s the reality check of the three projects:

Shahpurkandi Project: It aims to utilise the waters coming from powerhouse of Thein dam in order to irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab by generating 206 MW of power.

The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2016. However, following a dispute between the two states, work was suspended in August 2014 but they reached an agreement last September and the construction work has now resumed with the Centre monitoring its progress. The central government had in December last year announced assistance of Rs 485 crore for the project and it would be completed by June 2022.

 

India, pakistan, pulwama, water ban
The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack. VOA

The project will create irrigation potential of 5,000 hectare in Punjab and 32,173 hectare in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

The total balance cost of pending work in ShahpurKandi Dam project is estimated Rs 1,973.53 crore (irrigation component: Rs 564.63 crore, power component Rs1408.90 crore).

The Shahpurkandi Project was initially approved by the Planning Commission in November, 2001. Revised costs were approved, but there was delay in its execution both because of lack of funds with Punjab and inter-state issues with Jammu and Kashmir.

An agreement was finally reached between the two states under the aegis of Water Resources Ministry in September last year.

Ujh multipurpose project: Construction of the Ujh multipurpose project will create a storage of about 781 million cubic metres of water on Ujh, a tributary of Ravi, for irrigation and power generation and provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 hectares in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,850 crore and the Central assistance of Rs 4,892.47 crore on works portion of irrigation component as well as the special grant is under consideration. The project is yet to be implemented and it will take about six years for completion.

Second Ravi Beas link below Ujh: The project has been planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through Ravi by constructing a barrage across it for diverting water through a tunnel link to the Beas basin.

The project is expected to utilise about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujh dam by diverting the same to the Beas basin.

 

india, pakistan, water share, pulwama
Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Wikimedia

The water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan was brokered by the World Bank in 1960 to use the water available in the Indus system of rivers originating in India.

 

ALSO READ: IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

The Indus system comprises Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

Under the treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.  (IANS)