News Pakistan objects to hydro projects in Jammu and Kashmir


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Field Marshal

SOURCE: Hindustan Times

Pakistan has raised objections over the ongoing construction of the two hydroelectric power projects in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that the projects are in violation of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960.

As per the treaty, the ‘eastern rivers’ of Beas, Sutlej and Ravi are under India’s control, while Pakistan controls the ‘western rivers’ of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The treaty gives each country the right to use only 20% of the water from the rivers under the two countries’ respective control.

An official in the ministry of water resources said Pakistan had asked India to share details of the designs of the two dams — the 1,000 megawatt (MW) Pakal Dul dam on the Marusadar river, a tributary of the river Chenab, in Kishtwar; and the 48 MW Lower Kalnai dam on another tributary of the river in Doda district, to verify that the 1960 water treaty was not being violated.

The issue was raised in the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) meeting, where government officials from India and Pakistan discussed the problems related to the Indus Basin.

The treaty mandates the PIC to meet at least once a year alternately in India and Pakistan.

The meeting which took place in India on March 29 and March 30 was the first this year and may be followed by more such meetings to sort out the issue, according to official cited above.

The issue was first raised in a previous meeting held last year.

“The meeting was cordial but Pakistan raised objections about designs of our two hydroelectric power projects — Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai — saying the designs violated the treaty. We have insisted that there are no violations,’’ the official said, requesting anonymity.

“We will try and sort the issue mutually,’’ the official added.

The Indian delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner PK Saxena held meetings with the Pakistani side headed by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.