January 29, 2013
Pakistan and India have failed to resolve water dispute despite a number of meetings with Pakistani agriculture lobby pressing Islamabad to link trade normalisation with India with resolution of water disputes. Indian Secretary for Water Resources was due to reach Islamabad to hold discussions on Wullar Barrage but the government of India has expressed his inability to attend due to what many believe is the current tense relations in the aftermath of Indian violations on the Line of Control.
India began construction of Wullar Barrage and Storage Project in 1985 without informing Pakistan. Pakistan came to know about the construction through its own sources and successfully stopped work in 1987. The proposed construction could have provided India control of waters of River Jhelum, besides allowing it to interfere with its flow. Work is still suspended at site and the matter of the Wullar Barrage and Storage Project falls under the composite dialogue process. Pakistan has requested India to abandon this project because it is in violation of the Indus Water Treaty.
A neutral expert appointed by the World Bank on Pakistan’s request accepted three issues in favour of Pakistan and one in favour of India. The expert’s decision about the flushing of silt by bringing the water level of reservoir below its dead storage level is in contravention of various Treaty provisions. Pakistan has taken up this element in its quest for resolving the case of Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant being referred to the Court of Arbitration.
The sources further stated that India supplied information about the Chutak Hydroelectric Plant on November 2, 2007. Within the stipulated period of three months, Pakistan conveyed its objections to India on the design of the Plant on February 4, 2008. The matter was settled by PCIW in its 105th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission from May 29-June 2, 2010. There is no storage in the plant and downstream flows to Pakistan are not affected.
Nimoo-Bazgo is a 45MW Hydroelectric Plant on the River Indus. Pakistan’s queries were examined by the commission and India addressed Pakistan’s concerns by providing openings in parapet wall. India is also constructing a number of hydroelectric projects in held Kashmir which will ultimately have negative impact on Pakistan’s agriculture. Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Affairs, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has also supported the viewpoint of agriculturists and sought details of trade normalisation process with India.