A group of Kashmiris on Monday staged a sit-in at New Delhi to protest against the Indus Water Treaty signed by New Delhi and Islamabad in 1960 at Karachi as a result of which the state is not able to utilise its water resources.
Activists of Jammu and Kashmir Bachao Andolan (JKBA) headed by social activist and president United Fruit Growers Association of Kashmir Irfan Hafeez Lone on Monday staged the sit in at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
J&K state is endowed with abundant water resources like the Indus, the Jehlum and the Chenab and has potential to generate 25,000 MW of electricity, which the state could not because of the provisions of the treaty.
He said that the treaty deprived the state to utilise its water resources as Jammu and Kashmir cannot store water under annexure E of the treaty as it also provides restricted utilisation of water resources under annexure D of the treaty.
The treaty made the state scapegoat as the state incurred heavy losses. Lone said that the treaty does not only hamper hydro power generation but also restricts the storage of water for irrigation, which is imperative for farming and horticulture particularly during the drought season. Seventy per cent of the people of the state are dependent on the horticulture sector.
Lone said that adequate power energy is imperative for development, progress, economic growth, industrial set up and employment generation and termed the treaty the major hurdle to achieve these.
JKBA had demanded transfer of all Centre and NHPC owned power projects in the state like the 1,000 MW Pukal Dul, 390 MW Dul Hasti, 650 MW Salal and Uri projects to the state as compensation in lieu of looses being sustained by the state on account of the treaty.
Lone also demanded constitution of a high level committee to look into the genuine demands of the people of Kashmir as the government had done in Narmada and Singur and taking up the issue of redirecting of water on river Ravi with the Punjab government.
The Kashmiri activists have threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike if the government doesn't show interest in addressing these
These activists also expressed concern over the hike in HP spray diesel used by farmers and also castigated the government for not giving industry status or incentives to the fruit industry as was promised by the then Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh.