After the Pulwama attacks, many critics argued that the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan should be revoked. However, India has gone ahead and shared the design data of its three planned hydropower projects with Pakistan. This comes after Pakistani delegates were invited by India for the inspection of various hydroelectric projects at the Chenab Basin under the Indus Water Treaty.
Recently, the Indian authorities shared the data with its Pakistani counterparts about Balti Kalan, Kalaroos and Tamasha hydropower projects deemed to be constructed at Balti Kalan Nullah and Kalaroos Nullah at the Jhelum and Tamasha basin, a sub-tributary of the Indus river, respectively.
Pakistan’s Federal Secretary of Water Resources, Khawaja Shumail emphasised saying, “It is an important development that India has shared data of three projects it plans to construct in near future.”
“Since goods things are happening, our team will thoroughly examine data of these projects and respond to Indian authorities. We also appreciate our team for dealing with such important issues professionally and amicably,” Shumail added.
On February 1, a three-member delegation of Pakistani experts returned home after inspecting various hydropower projects at the Chenab basin in India. During their visit, delegates inspected the projects under the Indus Water Treaty on the invitation of New Delhi-based office of the Indian commissioner for Indus waters. The projects examined by Pakistani experts included 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 48MW Lower Kalnai, 850MW Ratlay, and 900MW Baglihar dam.
Pakistan considers this visit as a good sign in connection with the implementation of the IWT by the two countries. It also believes that the data sharing by India about the planned projects after a long time would restore the confidence of both the countries in resolving water-related issues.
While interacting with media, Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters, Syed Mehr Ali Shah said: “Under annex-D of the IWT, the design of any planned hydropower projects is liable to be shared. Last time, India had shared such data in 2013. But later, it didn’t. However, we appreciate our counterpart for sharing data of these three small hydropower schemes with us after we sought information in this regard.”
Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters said that if the data of any such project was shared and discussed under the treaty, most of the issues were resolved at the planning stage. The data shared by the Indian authorities was based on the information regarding design such as kind of project, capacity, use of water, powerhouse, turbines, spillways etc, he said. “These 5MW to 12MW projects are run-of-the-river projects that will be constructed in the bed of the rivers. The data they shared with us will be examined. If we find any objections, we will convey it to the Indian authorities within 90 days, ”Shah explained.
During the recent visit to India, Pakistani delegates invited Indian authorities to visit Kotri Barrage. “We have invited them and they will let us know when they plan to visit Pakistan,” Shah added.
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