Dam row

Drags on between India, Pak

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

a three-member team of the Pakistan Commission for Indus Waters has returned home convinced that India's ongoing Baglihar hydroelectricity project on Chenab river, 160 kilometres north of Jammu, breaches the Indus Water Treaty.

Led by Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, the team was on a two-day visit to India recently. It inspected the height of the Baglihar dam. Later, a Pakistani diplomat stated: "(The team) has found that various details of the dam do not tally with the map given by the Indian side."

The Pakistan team held discussions with the officials of India's Union ministry of water resources, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation on the issue. Sensitive aspects of water flow level were explained to the group.

The Pakistani side raised objections about the design of the project, particularly in respect of the floodgates. Shah told newspersons at the Chanderkote inspection site in Doda district: "When the blueprint was sent to us, we had clearly said that there was no need for constructing floodgates." However, A D Bhardwaj, the Indian official accompanying the Pakistan team, described the latter's apprehensions as a "question of perception". He said: "The project warranted the gates. We maintain that the structure does not violate the spirit of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty."

The pact was negotiated between India and Pakistan between 1951 and 1960. Under it, India has exclusive rights to the waters of the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas tributaries of the Indus, while the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers are under Pakistan's control. Pakistani officials claim that though they sought to inspect the site four years ago, India allowed them to do so only now.

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