LAHORE, Aug 22: India has started filling the Baglihar Dam in clear violation of the Indus Basin Water Treaty, bringing the inflow in Chenab River down to a historic low of 20,000 cusecs and forcing Pakistan to launch a protest with India’s Indus Commissioner.
“Although the Indians can fill the dam between June 21 and Aug 31, they can only do so by releasing at least 55,000 cusecs downstream,” says Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Indus Commissioner. But this has not been the case and is a clear violation of the Indus Basin Treaty.
“We made a call to the Indian Indus Basin Water Treaty Commissioner who promised to get back after checking the facts from irrigation authorities in occupied Kashmir.”
The commissioner’s office has also informed the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Water and Power about the situation, which would also take up the issue with the Indian agency concerned. But it certainly was a violation of the Indus Basin Water Treaty, as Pakistan had always feared when the Indians were building the dam, he said.
“Inflow in the Chenab river has gone down to 20,000 cusecs on Friday against its historic low of 35,000 cusecs,” says Babar Hassan Bharwana, Punjab Irrigation Secretary. The low inflow in the river indicates some kind of tampering with the inflows. The department has already informed the Indus Commissioner (Pakistan) and requested him to inform the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Water and Power to take up the issue at country-to-country level.
Inflow in the Chenab river has never gone below 35,000 cusecs. With its dropping to a paltry 20,000 cusecs, the province would have to manage additional supplies from Mangla Dam, which was already facing filling crisis, the secretary said.
The department has been releasing only 10,000 cusecs from Mangla Dam for power generation purposes and meeting all irrigation requirements from Chenab inflows. The situation would now reverse for the country and the Mangla Dam might start depleting before it could be filled, putting pressure on reserves and increasing shortages during the Rabi season, he said.