PAKISTAN UPS ANTE ON WATER
Threatens To Move World Bank On Kishenganga Project
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Apr 25: Pakistan has issued a fresh threat to move the World Bank for arbitration over Kishenganga power project in Jammu and Kashmir, which it alleges violates the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.
Pakistan has issued the threat in a recent letter to India, the third such communication in last one year, official sources said.
In the letter, Pakistan has said the Indus Water Treaty, which governs sharing of six common river waters, is being violated by the Kishenganga project and it has the “right” to move the World Bank for arbitration, they said.
Pakistan’s fresh threat comes after several rounds of bilateral talks failed to end differences over the issue.
Under the Treaty, World Bank is an arbitrator in disputes between India and Pakistan over sharing of river water and it can be invoked by either country.
Pakistan has been opposing construction of the power project on Kishenganga, claiming it violates the Indus Water Treaty, a contention rejected by India.
Work on the 330-MW project, capacity of which can be raised to 990 MW, started in 1994 and Pakistan immediately protested, prompting talks between the two countries to resolve it.
Under the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has exclusive right over three of the common rivers -- Indus, Jhelum and Chenab -- while India has exclusive right over Sutlej, Ravi and Beas. Kishenganga is a tributary of Jhelum river.
Pakistan has been alleging the diversion of flow will adversely affect its agriculture and hydroelectric project on river Neelam as Kishenganga is known across the LoC. Following concerns about submergence voiced by Pakistan, India reviewed the project in 2006, converting it from a storage project to a
‘run-of-river plant’, which is a type of hydroelectric generation whereby the natural flow and elevation drop of a river are used to generate power.
The reviewed data was communicated to Pakistan in June 2006.
Pakistan had earlier moved the World Bank for arbitration on Baglihar power project, built on Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan was objecting to the design and height of the dam.
The Bank appointed a neutral expert, Richard Laffite who held separate discussions with representatives of the two countries and visited the dam site.
After thorough deliberations, the expert in February 2007 gave a go-ahead to the 440 MW project in Doda district with some suggestions for reduction in the dam height.
Last year, when Pakistan had threatened to move the WB, India’s Indus Commissioner G Ranganathan had written to his counterpart Syed Jamaat Ali Shah emphasizing that approaching the international organisation was not warranted as the matter could be resolved through bilateral talks, the sources said.
Pakistan is yet to respond to this invitation, they said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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