Pak objects to Indian designs of hydroelectric projects
Pakistan demands structural changes in the Uri-II and Kishanganga hydroelectric projects, reports Anil Anand.delhi Updated: Jun 04, 2007 23:10 IST
Pakistan has objected to the existing designs of the Kashmir-based Uri-II and Kishanganga hydroelectric projects citing violations by India of the Indus Water Treaty. The issue came up at the just concluded Indo-Pak Indus water commission meeting held here last week.
India has denied the charges. Barely months after the World Bank guided resolution of the Baghliyar hydroelectric project controversy, the two projects are threatening to become yet another flash-point in the Indo-Pak relations.
Pakistan has demanded structural changes in the projects. Like Baglihar, Pakistan has objected to Uri-II project’s pondage capacity and gates.
The Indian team headed by DV Thareja had rebutted the Pakistan charge of Indus Water Treaty violations in designing these projects. “Our project designs are the Treaty compliant,” Thareja told the Hindustan Times.
In what is being perceived as a silver-lining in the water dispute resolution between the two countries, both have agreed for inspection of sites on either side of the Line of Control. Also included in the inspection list are the riverine areas of river Ravi on both sides of International Border. In this case, India has suggested simultaneous joint inspection on both sides to ascertain facts about the counter-charges of unauthorizedly building structure along the river banks.
Objecting to the existing designs of the Uri-II and Kishanganga projects, Islamabad has opposed the existing Uri-II design with a gated spillway and India’s proposal to divert the Kishanganga waters towards the world famous Wullar lake. The objection was on the plea that gated spillway and Kishangang diversion will affect the flow of water to the Pak Occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan’s commissioner to the panel, Syed Jamait Ali said the present designs violated the Indus Water Treaty. He handed-over a veiled threat to “explore” other avenues of redressal if the commission failed to mutually resolve the issue.
On its part, the Indian delegation felt the Treaty has an express provision that the structural design could be based on the site demands. Given the topography of the area with narrow gorges and fragile geology, un-gated spillway would cause land erosion, they held . “ When banks are narrow no expert will ever suggest a gated structure,” Thareja said.
As a counter to the Pak claim on Kishanganga, Thareja said the Treaty permits diversion of flow to the extent of present needs. Surprisingly, Pakistan linked their future needs also to strengthen their case which did not find favour with India.
According to the Treaty, which governs Indo-Pak rights over six common rivers, the World Bank is the arbitrator in the event of a water sharing dispute.