Exploitation Of JK’s Water Resources
• India’s Sincerity At Test: Baig
• IWT A Symbol Of Slavery: Gurezi
Srinagar, Aug 29: The Legislative Assembly Saturday rejected the plea to re-negotiate the deal reached between government of India and Jammu and Kashmir regarding usage of the water resources and transfer of the power projects run by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation to the state.
Despite repeated pleas and arguments by the senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Muzaffar Hussain Baig supported by some members of the ruling National Conference, the government turned down the private member resolution brought by Baig. However, the Government assured the Legislative Assembly that the transfer of Dul Hasti power project and implementation of other recommendations of the Rangarajan committee would be strongly pursued with the government of India.
Following the rejection of the resolution by the government, the PDP members including the party patron, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed staged a walkout.
Speaking on the resolution, Baig said the water resources in JK with a potential to generate 20000 megawatts of electricity were the backbone of the state economy.
“But so far only 2318.70 megawatts have been exploited both in state and center sector. Our own requirement is 2100 megawatts but we are exploiting only 758.70 megawatts. If only one-third of the electricity potential is exploited the state will earn an annual revenue of Rs 72,000 crore,” he said.
But due to lack of resources, reluctance shown by the outside investors to invest in JK’s power sector, hindrances created by to the Indus Water Treaty and unwillingness of the government of India to give counter-guarantee to the companies ready to invest in power sector in JK, the state was not able to harness its hydro potential fully, Baig said. “These factors are severely impeding the economy of the state.”
Baig said the water resources are the state-subject of any state but the decision on the distribution of the resources between India and Pakistan was taken arbitrarily.
Quoting the chief minister Omar Abdullah, Baig said he announced on August 15 that time had come to re-negotiate the IWT. “It was not possible as the re-negotiation would drastically affect the agriculture production in Haryana and Punjab and more than 80 percent of the agriculture produce would be affected in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is calling Kashmir as its jugular vein because they know its agriculture is dependent on the rivers originating from the state, Jehlum, Indus and Chenab while Haryana and Punjab, supplying rice to the whole country depend on Ravi, Beas and Sutlej for irrigation and power.
The Farooq Abdullah led National Conference government had in 2000 transferred seven power projects, Kishangaga (330 mw), Uri-II (280 mw), Bursar (1020 mw), Sewa-II (120 mw), Pakal Dul (1000 mw), Nimo Bazgo (30 mw) and Chutak (18 mw) to the NHPC while as the three power projects, Uri-I, Salal, and Dul Hasti which stand completed are also controlled by NHPC.
“The NHPC has realized more than the capital invested on Salal, Dul Hasti and Uri power projects. We have the right to ask them to transfer the projects to state. Even the Rangarajan committee had recommended transfer of Dul Hasti. The government should also press for 50 percent share in the seven projects transferred earlier to the NHPC,” Baig argued.
He said during the governor’s rule, consent had been given for the formation of the Chenab Valley Power Development Corporation to exploit the waters of Chenab basin.
Three projects to be taken up were under the joint venture are Pakal Dul (1000 mw), Kiru (600 mw) and Kawar (520 mw).
In the joint venture company the NHPC would have the share of “not less than 51 percent and Jammu Kashmir State Power Development Corporation shall have the share of not more than 49 percent of the total share holding in the company.”
India, Baig said claimed that Kashmir was the “crown of the country.” The re-negotiation for power projects and water resources will be the “test of her sincerity”, Baig said.
Let us forget that the resolution is brought by a PDP member, consider it a resolution on behalf of people of the state. We should rise above the party line and demand our rights from the center. It is the test of their sincerity but also a examination for us to prove that we are one.
Supporting Baig, NC’s Mir Saif-ullah while bringing the amendment said it was not the question of any party but a concern for the state.
“The signing of the Indus Water Treaty was the beginning of the human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir,” Saifullah told the house.
His party’s Nazir Gurezi termed the IWT as the “sign of slavery and nothing else” for Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding on behalf of the power minister, the minister for Tourism Nawang Rigzin Jora said the IWT was more 49 year-old phenomena.
“It is not desirable to renegotiate IWT but we will press for implementation of the Rangarajan Committee recommendations.
At this stage, the state can’t re-negotiate IWT but can try and plead for return of the power projects, Uri, Dul Hasti and Salal and seek equal share in the seven projects. “I appeal you to rise above the party lines and at least give a try to it,” he said.
However the minister argued that the IWT was not alone responsible for dismal power scenario in the state. “I assure you that government will try its level best for return of the projects,” he said.
Following the assurances, National Conference’s Mir Saifullah, who earlier strongly supported Baig, withdrew his amendments proposed to the resolution.
However, Baig refused to withdraw the resolution following which it was rejected by the House. After the rejection the PDP members staged walkout.
“It is a drama by the government. They talk about strengthening state economy but refuse to take measures,” Mehbooba said while walking out of the house.