LAHORE: After fulfilling its commitment of getting its various hydropower projects at the Chenab basin inspected by Pakistani experts from Jan 28 to Feb 1, India has shared the design data of its three planned run-of-the-river hydropower schemes with Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
A few days ago, the Indian authorities shared the data with its Pakistani counterparts about Balti Kalan, Kalaroos and Tamasha hydropower projects which are planned to be constructed at Balti Kalan Nullah and Kalaroos Nullah at the Jhelum basin and Tamasha, a sub-tributary of the Indus river, respectively.
“It is an important development that India has shared data of three projects it plans to construct in near future,” Federal Secretary of Water Resources Khawaja Shumail told Dawn on Friday.
Development is preceded by inspection of other Indian projects by Pakistani experts
“Since goods things are happening, our team will thoroughly examine data of these projects and respond to Indian authorities. We also appreciate our team for dealing with such important issues professionally and amicably,” he added.
A three-member delegation of Pakistani experts returned home on Feb 1 after inspecting various hydropower projects at the Chenab basin in India. The delegation during its visit inspected the projects under the Indus Water Treaty on the invitation of New Delhi-based office of the Indian commissioner for Indus waters. The projects inspected by Pakistani experts included 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 48MW Lower Kalnai, 850MW Ratlay and 900MW Baglihar dam.
Since Islamabad sees the aforementioned visit as a good sign in connection with implementation of the IWT by the two countries, it also believes that the data sharing by India about the planned projects after a long time would restore confidence of both the countries in each other in resolving water-related issues.
“Under annex-D of the IWT, the design of any planned hydropower projects is liable to be shared. Last time, India had shared such data in 2013. But later, it didn’t. However, we appreciate our counterpart for sharing data of these three small hydropower schemes with us after we sought information in this regard,” Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehr Ali Shah told Dawn.
He said that if the data of any such project was shared and discussed under the treaty, most of the issues were resolved at planning stage.
The data the Indian authorities had shared was based on the information regarding design such as kind of project, capacity, use of water, power house, turbines, spillways etc, he said. “These 5MW to 12MW projects are run-of-the-river projects that will be constructed in the bed of the rivers. The data they shared with us will be examined. If we find any objections, we will convey it to the Indian authorities within 90 days,” he explained.
Mr Shah said that during the recent visit to India, Pakistan’s delegation invited Indian authorities to visit Kotri Barrage. “We have invited them and they will let us know when they plan to visit Pakistan,” he added.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2019