Pakistan, India disagree on five water projects

2013-10-26 00:01:49 | Al Muslim News
Pakistan, India disagree on five water projects


Pakistan is currently contesting with India over five water projects including Kishenganga, Ratle, Miyar, Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects, Wullar Barrage and Tulbul Navigation project. This was informed during a briefing on Indus Basin Treaty by Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Water Mirza Asif Baig and Secretary Saifullah Chattha. Khawaja Asif said water is a life and death issue for the people of Pakistan as the country is water stressed and could become water starved in future. He said there is a need to evolve a consensus on water issues so rights of the country could be defended vigorously. He said in his opinion Indus water treaty signed with India did not judiciously distribute water. When the treaty was signed Pakistan had population of 30-40 million but now it had risen five fold to 180-200 million, he added. He said there is need to change the way people use water in their homes and for agriculture. He said work will simultaneously start on Diamer Bhasha and Dassu dams. Funding options are available for the two hydel projects. Rs 21 billion has already been spent on Diamer dam and land acquisition for it has been completed. The Secretary Water and Power said India has been trying to get water in excess of the limits it is allowed under the Indus Basin Treaty. The Indus Water Commissioner said the dispute regarding the proposed diversion of Neelum water by India and draw down of the dead storage level was referred to International Court of Arbitration. The Commissioner said the final hearing of Court of Arbitration was concluded on 31 August 2012 and partial award of the court has been awarded on 18 February, 2013 in which the first question of diversion was decided in favour of India and the second question of draw down in storage level in Pakistan’s favour. Both the parties have to submit additional data and written submissions to the Court of Arbitration and accordingly the court will decide the quantum of water to be released below Kishenganga Hydroelectric Plant in Neelum river as environmental releases. The final award of the court is expected by December 2013, he noted. He said Pakistan has objected on freeboard, magnitude of pondage and placement of spillway of Ratle Hydroelectric plant of 850 megawatts, Miyar Hydroelectric Plant of 120 megawatts, Lower Kalnai plant of 48 megawatts and Pakal Dul Hydroelectric Plant of 1000 megawatts located on Chenab river. (APP).

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