PDC picks out int"l consultancy to quantify Indus Water Treaty losses

PDC picks out int''l consultancy to quantify Indus Water Treaty losses

The then government headed by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had claimed it would approach the Government of India to seek compensation based on the study.

The J&K Power Development Corporation (PDC) is all set to engage an international consultancy for quantifying the losses suffered by the State on account of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

“We have shortlisted the Danish Hydraulic Institute which is a Denmark-based company for the task,” said PDC’s Managing Director, MerajKakroo.

The Corporation had in 2013 invited fresh bids after M/s Halcrow Consulting India Ltd, a part of M/s Halcrow Group of UK—which had won the contract—retracted, citing the bid validity for the project had expired. It was for the fourth time that the PDC had invited the offers.

Kakroo said the Corporation would place the matter before the PDC’s Board of Directors (BoD) for its approval before awarding the contract to the Danish company. The Chief Minister heads the PDC’s BoD.

The issue would also require go-ahead of the new cabinet which would take the shape only after government formation in the state.

“Already lot of time got consumed in the process. We are waiting for the government formation so that an early call is taking on the matter,” said a senior official of the Corporation.

He said though three other companies had offered their services, the Danish Hydraulic Institute was the only company “eligible” for the job which requires wide range of expertise.

The Government doesn’t have any figures based on a scientific research about the losses suffered by the state on account of the Indus Water Treaty though rough estimates peg the losses between Rs 18000 crore to Rs 20000 crore.

J&K government had for the first time floated the idea to quantify the IWT losses in 2009. The then government headed by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had claimed it would approach the Government of India to seek compensation based on the study.

“We hope there is no mess up this time around and the agency shortlisted is hired without any further wasting of time,” said another official.

He said in 2013, the Government “sat over the decision” to hire Halcrow for more than a year.

What is Indus Water Treaty

The IWT is a water sharing arrangement between India and Pakistan which was brokered by the World Bank in 1960. Under it, India has exclusive rights over three major eastern rivers—Ravi, Beas and Sutlej—before they enter Pakistan while as the Pakistan has rights over three western rivers– Indus, Jhelum and Chenab—that flow through J&K. The treaty puts a rider on exploitation of water from rivers flowing to Pakistan.

It makes it obligatory on J&K to make limited withdrawals from rivers flowing to Pakistan for domestic and agricultural use and for limited hydropower generation.

J&K can only set up limited storage for hydropower and irrigation as per the treaty which has withstood two wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and some minor conflicts between the two neighboring countries.