Pakistan destroyed Nehru’s spirit but PM will take a call on stopping water: Nitin Gadkari
Earlier on Thursday, Gadkari had talked about stopping the flow of water from India’s share to Pakistan to pressurise the country from stopping support to terrorism and improve availability of water in Indian rivers.Updated: Feb 22, 2019 14:57 IST
Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said the final decision to stop river water flowing to Pakistan through Jammu and Kashmir will be taken at the level of the prime minister. In an interview to news agency ANI, Gadkari talked about the “spirit” in which former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru signed the Indus Waters Treaty with then Pakistan President Ayub Khan. He said by supporting terrorism, Pakistan has destroyed the spirit in which Pandit Nehru gave Pakistan the right to use water of three rivers flowing through India.
“When this agreement was signed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Ayub Khan, it was done to build the spirit of harmony and cooperation between the two countries…In the spirit of elder brother Pt Nehru gave water of these rivers to them…Now Pakistan has eroded that harmony…the kind of relationship we have…especially by terrorism and support to terrorism, Pakistan has destroyed the spirit (that was there in at the time of signing of the Indus Waters Treatment),” Gadkari told ANI.
Earlier on Thursday, Gadkari had talked about stopping the flow of water from India’s share to Pakistan to pressurise the country from stopping support to terrorism and improve availability of water in Indian rivers. His comments have come a week after the Pulwama terror attack killing at least 40 jawans.
The Union minister said, “There is anger among people. They want that not even a drop of water should be allowed to go to Pakistan. However, to take such a decision is not in the jurisdiction of my department. The decision will be taken at the level of the Government of India, the prime minister.”
India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960. The treaty categorised six rivers, namely, the Indus, the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej into Western and Eastern rivers. India is allowed to use waters of Eastern rivers - the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej, while Pakistan got control over the rest.
Gadkari also suggested punitive action against Pakistan for its continued support to terror. “I have asked my department to prepare a technical design to figure out at which places we can stop flow of water of their share to Pakistan. If they continue to support terrorism and terrorists, then maintaining a good relation with them in the name of humanity does not make any sense,” said the minister.
“Pakistan must stop terror else we will stop water flowing to Pakistan irrespective of the money it requires to build such projects, and Pakistan will be responsible for this step,” he said reiterating, “But this decision can’t be taken at the level of my department.”
Gadkari, who is the minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, said under the Indus Waters Treaty, India is entitled to use 33 million metric feet (mmf) water in the three rivers but “we have used only 31 mmf” of its share.
“We have decided that we will use rest of the quota of water in India. We will build three dams for the purpose. The cabinet has given its approval for that,” he said.
The minister talked about Shahpur Kandi project that is being constructed on the Ravi. “This project will generate electricity and water will be used in Jammu and Kashmir. Excess water will be directed to Punjab,” he said adding, “The second is Ujh multipurpose project…The third is Second Ravi-Beas Link below Ujh. We will stop water of our share from flowing to Pakistan and divert them to Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.”
India and Pakistan have offered different interpretations of the Indus Waters Treaty with Islamabad raising objections to developmental projects on the rivers through Jammu and Kashmir. Gadkari has raised the pitch against Pakistan over river water sharing following the Pulwama terror attack.
Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack but Prime Minister Imran Khan in a televised statement appeared to ignore the claim. Imran Khan sought evidence from India proving involvement of any Pakistani group behind the attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
First Published: Feb 22, 2019 11:27 IST