JK to quantify IWT losses

PDC Invites EOI From Global Consultants

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, May 4: In a significant move, Jammu and Kashmir government has initiated the process for quantifying the cumulative losses suffered by the state on account of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed between India and Pakistan half a century ago.
The State Power Development Corporation has sought offers for engagement of some reputed multinational consultancy for assessing/quantifying the losses on account of IWT, brokered between India and Pakistan by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) in 1960.
The treaty gives India exclusive rights to use the waters of the Eastern Rivers - Sutlej, Beas and Ravi - and their tributaries before they enter Pakistan while the latter secured rights over the waters of the Western Rivers - Chenab, Jhelum and Indus. The water-sharing agreement bars the Jammu and Kashmir from fully exploiting its hydro-resources for power generation.
“There is a feeling that the state is suffering on account of IWT. But, nobody knows the exact quantum of the losses. The government decided to get it scientifically evaluated. The issue (compensation) could be then taken up with the centre,” said DGM, SPDC Iftikhar Ahmad A Kakroo.
He said the Monitoring Committee, headed by the state’s Economic Advisor, Jaleel Ahmad Khan, which is studying some of the recommendation of the Prime Ministers Working Group o Economic Development of Jammu and Kashmir, is looking into the issue that the state should be compensated on account of the losses suffered due to the treaty.
Officials said the decision to seek assistance of reputed consultants to assess the loss was actually taken last year to get the authentic data of the losses suffered by the state on account IWT.
“We want to have accurate date about the losses suffered by the state. Once the state government will have the figures, it will be in a better position to raise the issue with the centre for compensation,” said a top official. He said early this year M/s Halcrow Consulting India Limited, a part of M/s Halcrow Group of UK had offered the services. “But government wants more companies to bid for the process (assessing losses) and that is the reason it has re-tendered Expression of Interest proposal,” he said.
The decision coincides with a scenario when JK’s financial position, according to the government, has been dismal, and voices are growing stronger that the state should pressurize the government of India either to review the treaty or compensate JK fully on account of losses suffered due to it.
For quite some time now the state government has been pitching that IWT was a bottleneck for state’s development especially in the hydroelectric sector. Soon after he took as the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah who also holds power portfolio has been advocating a review of the treaty which has become “outdated” and both the countries - India and Pakistan - need to re-visit its provisions and work out a formula under which Jammu and Kashmir can benefit by harnessing the water of its own rivers.
There are varying figures about the losses suffered by JK on account of IWT. Noted economist Prof Nissar Ali said no scientific methodology has been carried out to asses the same. However, he said the estimated losses incurred by the state on account of IWT would be more than Rs 20000 crore.
The IWT has put brakes on states’ development in different sector. There are losses in industrial, agricultural and allied sector as well as in the generation of hydro-electric power which has otherwise an estimated potential of 20,000 MW. According to some reports state incurs losses estimated at Rs 6500 crore annually by the dint of Indus Water Treaty.
“We can’t exploit our irrigation potential fully due to Indus Water Treaty rider and hence the state is forced to import food grains worth Rs 1200 to Rs 1400 crore annually. Our industry has remained backward for lack of developed power sector due to IWT constraints and instead of a producer JK has grown as consumer state. Of its total assets NHPC has more than 75 percent of them in JK,” said Prof Ali. In 1996, Prof Ali said he had put forth a proposal before the state government to claim a compensation of Rs 8000 crore from the Government of India on account of IWT.
Due to restricted hydro-electric generation on western rivers, the State could harness only 2460 MWs despite having potential of 20,000 MWs of power generation.
Omar led National Conference-Congress Government is facing severe criticism from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for “selling out power and water resources” to New Delhi. The party has been alleging that the three generations of Abdullah’s have sold out hydro resources of the State cheaply in return for power. The party is demanding white paper on alleged sell out of water resources by the National Conference to government of India owned National Hydro Projects Corporation, a government of India undertaking.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 May 2011 00:00:00 IST




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