India starts work on power project despite Pak’s objections
Islamabad, Jan 25 (IANS) Despite Pakistans repeated objections over Indias intentions to construct a power project on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi has decided to go ahead with the construction work of the project, maintaining that it does not violate terms of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
Pakistan has raised its concerns with the World Bank, stating that India’s project was not in consistency with the IWT.
Pakistan has maintained that the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers are reserved for the country, while the Ravi, Beas and the Sutlej rivers are reserved for India under the IWT, signed in 1960 between the two nations,
Islamabad has repeatedly stated that it has serious concerns over designs of the Pakal Dul, Ratle and Lower Kalnai projects, insisting that India would be using the reservoirs to create deliberate and artificial water shortage or cause flooding in Pakistan.
“These projects have been designed in violation of the IWT,” said a government official.
Official sources have confirmed to IANS that Pakistan has approached the World Bank with a fresh protest.
However, Islamabad’s efforts do not seem to hinder India as the Narendra Modi-led government has decided to go ahead with the construction of the 850 megawatt Ratle hydroelectric power project, approval of which came during a recent meeting chaired by the Prime Minister.
In 2019, India had accepted Pakistan’s request for inspection of the hydropower project on the Chenab basin.
After the visit of the Pakistani delegation, Islamabad had raised objections over Pakal Dul’s design being in violation of the Sindh Taas Agreement of 2012.
“Pakistan had demanded that the freeboard height should be reduced from seven-feet to two-feet and the installation of the seal way gates should be done with an additional 40 metres in order to bring 1,620 metres and align it with sea level,” said a government official.
While Pakistan is hopeful that its fresh protests with the World Bank would yield results and help in stopping India from what it calls, blocking the country’s water through construction of its reservoirs, Modi inaugurated the projects and is all set to start the construction work also.
Pakistani government officials maintain that this is New Delhi’s rivalry with Islamabad and its ambitions to create hurdles for the country by blocking its water and using it for flooding whenever it deems fit.