India is hopeful of convincing Pakistan that the Tulbul navigation project located at the mouth of the Wullar Lake in Jammu and Kashmir is for the general good of all people including those living in Pakistan, Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz said on Monday.
India and Pakistan concluded on Friday two-day long deliberations over the Tulbul navigational lock, which Pakistan describes as Wullar barrage. The two agreed to press for "an early and amicable resolution" of their long-standing dispute over the water project.
Speaking to reporters, Soz said he had told the Pakistani delegation that "unless four and half feet of water were left in the Wullar lake during the lean months of winter (at the head of Jhelum river flowing into Pakistan), the lake would become a permanent marshy land and that would not just harm the people of that area, who would not be able to boat around, but also Pakistan in the long run."
He said, "if we lose Wullar it will cause damage to Pakistan too. Let me do this work for the good of all. I think they understood my compassion for the people."
He was addressing the media ahead of the National Ground Water Congress, 2007 scheduled for September 11.
The meet is expected to focus on the implementation of the Model Bill to regulate and control the development and management of ground water, Soz said.
The Model Bill, publicised and circulated by the government in January 2005, seeks to "establish a Ground Water Authority" to check ground water level in each state and to take corrective measures to ensure conservation of ground water, he said.
So far only 10 states and union territories have enacted and implemented the bill proposed by the central government, the minister said. They are: Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh and union territories of Chandigarh, Pondicherry and Lakshadweep.
Another 19 including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Mizoram, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar and Chhattisgarh have agreed to enact the bill, the minister said.
Six states - Punjab, Tripura, Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland - are not in favour of the bill.