Pak May Move World Bank Against India Over Chenab Water

17 September 2008
The Indian Express

Islamabad: Pakistan will seek arbitration by the World Bank over India's alleged violation of the Indus Water Treaty if New Delhi did not concede the breach of the pact, a report said on Wednesday. Islamabad had claimed that, in 'gross violations of the Indus Water Treaty,' India reduced the water flow to fill up the Baglihar dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir, causing to a 'loss of agriculture' for farmers in Pakistan. Pakistan would take up the issue with India on a water commissioner-level meeting likely to be held in New Delhi and would demand compensation for the agriculture loss to it, said a ‘Daily News’ report on Wednesday. 'We will demand compensation estimated at 0.2 million causes in water loss. If India does not accept the violation, Pakistan will go to the WB for arbitration,' official sources were quoted as saying. India, on the other hand, has clarified that reduced flow in the Chenab river in Pakistan was a result of 'very little' availability of water in a lean year. 'There was reduction because the flow was very little this year. We have also explained to the Pakistan High Commission on the situation,' Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon said in New Delhi on Tuesday. Pakistan Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who chaired a high-level meeting, has directed the Pakistani Indus Water Commission chief to hold formal discussions with his Indian counterpart. He claimed India had stopped 200,000 acre-feet water from August 1 to September 12 to fill the Baglihar Dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan would ask India to compensate the water loss by releasing water in the Ravi, Sutlej and Chenab rivers and had asked the Punjab Irrigation Department to assess the losses that would be placed before the Indian authorities the meeting, the Daily News said. Ashraf has directed the concerned authorities to take necessary action, and has directed the Pakistan commissioner to undertake a tour of inspection and hold formal discussions with the Indian commissioner, the sources said. Pakistan had sought World Bank arbitration after raising objection over the construction Baglihar dam over Chanab river, arguing that it violates the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. However, the WB-appointed neutral expert gave verdict in favour of India with suggestions for marginal changes in the design of the dam.