Dams will not flout Indus Waters Treaty: Experts
SRINAGAR: Government is looking to expedite the work on three hydro power projects on Chenab river in J&K after reviewing the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) on Monday following the Uri attack and deterioration of ties with Pakistan.
The Sawalkot, Pakal Dul and Bursar projects in Jammu region have a potential of 3,656 MW of energy which experts feel will boost the power-deficient state.
Officials and experts asserted that the dams would not violate the principles of IWT or hamper the flow of water to Pakistan.
The biggest of three, Sawalkot, being built by Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) at Rs 18,560 crore in Ramban district, is a 192.5-metre dam with an expected capacity of 1,856 MW.
The project is being reviewed by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) on a priority basis, JKSPDC website said. “Of the 30 clearances, 20 have been received,” an official involved in the project said, hoping that all the clearances would be gotten by the end of this year. The official said the project “would in no way affect the flow of water to Pakistan” as water would be stored during June-August period when the water levels are high.
The 1,000-MW Pakal Dul project is to be constructed on the Marusudar, the main tributary of Chenab, in Drangdhuran village, about 45 km from Kishtwar, by Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited, a joint venture between JKSPDC, NHPC and Power Trading Corporation (PTC), at a cost of Rs 8,112 crore. The 800 MW Bursar project, to be constructed by NHPC at an estimated cost of Rs 8,000 crore, is a “storage project” planned in Kishtwar district but is currently under survey and investigation for preparation of a detailed report.
“The storage provided is intended to be used for additional power generation during lean flow months and releasing regulated flow,” NHPC’s website said. State commissioner-secretary of power, Dheeraj Gupta advocated expedition of the work on these projects.
Experts noted that within the IWT, the projects would reduce the state’s energy deficiency. “J&K buys 12,000 MW a year. It is tapping only one-eighth of the power generation potential of the rivers under the Treaty,” said Lt Gen (retd) Pramod Grover, pegging the untapped loss at Rs 40,000 crore every year.
Prof Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, HOD, earth sciences, University of Kashmir, stressed that these projects would not affect Pakistan as they are “run-of-the-river projects, very much provided for in the IWT”. The IWT, signed by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani president Ayub Khan in September 1960, gives control of the three eastern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – to India and Indus, Chenab and Jhelum to Pakistan. The pact is seen as generous to Pakistan as it gets 80% water of the western rivers.
PAKISTAN TAKES CASE TO WORLD BANK
Pakistan has taken its case on the IWT to the World Bank, asking it to prevent India from going ahead with any “illegal constructions”. A Pakistani delegation led by attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali met senior World Bank officials at its headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.