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Indian team arrives to discuss water projects

Updated Mar 20, 2017 01:52pm


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ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Marking the revival of bilateral engagement at the institutional level after two years, a 10-member Indian delegation led by Indian Indus Water Commissioner P.P. Saxena arrived on Sunday for two-day talks on the designs, disputed by Pakistan, of three controversial water projects being built on river Chenab.

The water experts of the two sides at the level of Permanent Indus Commission last met in May 2015 in New Delhi and could not hold mandatory annual meetings since then despite repeated requests by Islamabad.

The two sides would not discuss the controversial Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects on which Pakistan is seeking international court of arbitration (ICA) through the World Bank, a senior official told Dawn. He explained that the World Bank was at the advanced stage of appointing an ICA, hence not on the bilateral agenda.

Controversial Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects will not come under discussion

The teams led by Mr Saxena and Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Beg would open formal talks on Monday before leaving for Lahore in the evening where the talks would conclude on Tuesday. The visiting delegation would leave for New Delhi the same day.

The officials said that Pakistan had raised objections to the designs of three projects on Chenab it considered being built by India in violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. These include Pakul Dal of 1,000MW, Miyar of 120MW and Lower Kalnai of 48MW.

The two sides will exchange data on river flows and try to finalise the schedule of future meetings and tours of inspections by Pakistani water engineering experts to the various rivers and project sides across the Line of Control.

An official said that Pakistan’s objections to the three projects led the Indian side to agree on putting them on the agenda of the meeting. He said Pakul Dal, a mega project with a proposed generation capacity of 1,000MW, would be built on Chenab and would be able to store nearly one million acres feet of water. The project design envisaged its filling every monsoon season between mid-June and end-August.

Pakistan would seek details of the project and engineering designs and raise specific questions and objections and expect the visiting delegation to satisfy the hosts with envisaged changes.

Officials said the two sides had previously scheduled their annual meeting in September last year with systematic delays caused by New Delhi when Prime Minister Modi declared unilateral suspension of talks and announced speeding up hydropower projects on Pakistani rivers.

An official said India was entitled to store about 3.6m acres feet on Pakistani rivers and almost one-fourth of that quantity could be exploited through Pakul Dal.

In addition, Pakistan has also objected to the design of the 120MW Miyar hydro­power project on Miyar Nullah — a major tributary of Chenab on its right bank. The project involves a barrage, head race tunnel, surge shaft, penstocks and tail race channel.

The Miyar project has the capacity to discharge about 61.35 cusecs of water. Islamabad’s objections on the project relate to the barrage height, intake height, head and tail race channels and discharge levels.

Likewise, the 48MW Lower Kalnai project would also be located on river Chenab and impact Pakistan’s water rights, an official said.

Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi — had been allocated to India and the western rivers — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — to Pakistan, except for certain non-consumptive uses for India.

Earlier, the Indian delegation arrived in Lahore through Wagah. It was received by officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and Pakistan Indus water commission office.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2017


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Comments (18) Closed

Desi Dimag Mar 20, 2017 10:27am

Go for 50% share.

saudagar Mar 20, 2017 10:33am

it is better to scrap indus water treaty and make a implementable one that suits 21st century needs of both parties .

rich Mar 20, 2017 10:53am

Pakistan would seek details of the project and engineering designs and raise specific questions and objections and expect the visiting delegation to satisfy the hosts with envisaged changes.

raise specific question and objection

pakistanis have decided before viewing the project to raise objection, what talk will that be, if one comes with negative attitude, it should have been will raise question, and if not in pakistan interest or not satisfies we will raise objection

its like opposing for the sake of opposing ,

ali Mar 20, 2017 11:05am

no need of giving free water ,give one river for one trade route and other for money

ali Mar 20, 2017 11:01am

no need of giving free water ,give one river for one trade route and other for money

vikas gupta Mar 20, 2017 11:07am

This Treaty should be scrap and make new treaty like America with Mexico.

mandy Mar 20, 2017 11:11am

This shows that the global giant India likes to have good relations even with there much smaller neighbors.

TRUESOUL Mar 20, 2017 11:20am

India is entitled to store about 3.6m acres feet on Pakistani rivers. Why the fuss till 3.6m acres feet is consumed?

Hassan (Karachi) Mar 20, 2017 11:24am

@saudagar No, because it would be exploitable. A country can claim more because of its uncontrolled population growth, or nationalism sponsored population growth (as seen with Erdogan statement 2 days ago). Both Pakistan and India need to reduce population.

IsaBhai Surat wala Mar 20, 2017 11:35am

Pakistan should get its share and India should block it's as per accord by the two countries......

D.K. PAMNANI Mar 20, 2017 12:15pm

Indians have come to clarify the situation and new treaty is to be signed.

MITTHA khan Mar 20, 2017 12:17pm

@mandy global giant with a per capita of usd 1500,, please know the reality of 400 million poor indians bfore proclaimin ur fictional status as global powerhouse

point of view Mar 20, 2017 12:23pm

What happened with complain to the UN and Court of the Arbitration....balloon burst...

vin Mar 20, 2017 12:31pm

Kishenganga completed last year and Rattle will get this year.

KUL DEEP KUSHWAH Mar 20, 2017 12:44pm

@MITTHA khan

I agree with u completely .

but the least we acknowledge our shortcomings and are trying our best to rectify the issues .

and we are doing that at a fast pace .

India of today is much never than india of 25 years back .

yes we have a huge population and it will take time but at least we are on the right path .

and I really wish the same for you .

God bless us all

saudagar Mar 20, 2017 12:43pm

@MITTHA khan same poor indians with 1500 dollars per capita contribute 1400 us dollars for every hajj pilgrimants as hajj subsidy !

Amit. Mar 20, 2017 01:27pm

Now this is very interesting. First of all both the countries have to understand that for any treaty or agreement to go on it requires good relations. India has every right to build dam and store water at the same time even Pakistan can do that however Pakistan has failed to build any storage capacity on its side. However India so far had not disturb the Indus Water Treaty only on the humanitarian grounds and I am sure India will not stop Pakistan water in the future as well.

Vasan Mar 20, 2017 01:41pm

Producing electricity from running water is not a crime. Everyone want Kashmir to develop, without good infrastructure how can they develop ?

With more water channeled Kashmir, agriculture should be promoted, and per capita income should be increased, so that there could be over all prosperity in the region.