Finally, J&K hires consultant to quantify Indus Water Treaty losses

Danish Hydraulic Institute to complete work in 44 weeks on Rs 1.89 cr contract

After years of delay, the J&K government has hired a consultant for quantifying losses suffered by the state on account of Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

A source said the Power Development Corporation (PDC) has awarded the contract to Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) India Water and Environment Pvt Ltd.

The Institute has already started the work and a team of its officials visited some river sites in J&K last month. There was also a meeting between officials from PDC and DHI a few days ago, said the source.

The institute, part of Denmark-based DHI Group, has got the contract at Rs 1.89 crore and has to complete the task in 44 weeks, the official said.

Confirming about the consultant, the PDC managing director Shah Faesal said assessment of the losses would be a major study which would change the understanding towards the IWT and the losses suffered by Jammu and Kashmir.

The idea to get the losses quantified was first mooted by the former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in 2009 during the previous National Conference-Congress regime to have an authentic figure of the losses which could be projected with government of India for compensation.

There are varying figures about the losses suffered by JK on account of IWT. Rough estimates suggest that J&K has suffered more than Rs 20,000 crore losses due to the treaty which puts a rider on exploitation of water from rivers flowing to Pakistan.

Under the international agreement that was brokered by World Bank between India and Pakistan in 1960, India has exclusive rights over three major eastern rivers- Ravi, Beas and Sutlej – before they enter Pakistan while as Pakistan has rights over three western rivers – Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – that flow through J&K.

The treaty has withstood two wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and some minor conflicts between the two neighboring countries.

“We want to have accurate data about the losses suffered by the state. Once the government has the figures, it will be in a better position to raise the issue with the centre for compensation,” said a top official.

In 2013 the government had shortlisted M/S Halcrow Consulting India Ltd, a part of M/S Halcrow group of UK, for the job of assessing the losses. However the Government sat over the decision to hire the consultant for more than a year following which the firm backed out. The DHI was the lone bidder which had shown willingness to take up the contract in 2015.