Differences resolved on Baglihar, Uri-II, Chutak2 June 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The three-day Indo-Pak talks on water ended today with the two sides addressing contentious issues relating to three power projects being constructed in Jammu and Kashmir but matters related to one still remained unresolved. The two sides signed minutes of the meeting between the Indus Water Commissioners as also those of the meeting held in Lahore in March when they had disagreed on a number of issues. During the talks between Indus Water Commissioner G Ranganathan and his counterpart Jamaat Ali Shah, India agreed to provide advance flood warning to Pakistan for the coming Monsoon season, continuing with the practice since 1989. The annual report and the action plan of the Permanent Indus Commission were also approved during the meeting, Secretary (Water Resources) U N Panjiar said. The two sides failed to resolve issues related to the Nimoo Bazgo hydel power project in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and decided to hold further discussions during the next round of talks. Pakistan has certain objections on ponderage and silt levels of the project which would be generating 239 Million Units of power. However, India insists that it is a run-of-the-river project. The three power projects on which differences were resolved are Baglihar, Uri II and Chutak as Pakistan gave up its objections on these. Pakistan had raised objections over the initial filling of Baglihar dam in Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad had claimed it was not getting 55,000 cusecs of water at Magrala when India filled up the dam commissioned in October, 2008. India had contented that water as per the 1960 Indus Water Treaty was being provided to Pakistan. After the discussions, it was satisfied and decided not to raise the matter further. Panjiar said India would keep in mind the concerns of Pakistan while filling up the dam and would continue to do that in future. Earlier, it had taken the issue related to Baglihar to the World Bank, which is neutral arbitrator under the Indo-Pak Indus Water Treaty of 1960. It gave verdict in favour of India in February 2007. Pakistan had also raised objections over the 240 MW Uri-II project being constructed on Jhelum river in Kashmir valley and the 44 MW Chutak plant being built on Suru, a tributary of Indus river in Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh province. Pakistan had claimed that the projects would deprive it of its share of water. However, it withdrew its objections on the first day of the talks on Monday, marking the first time that Pakistan has accepted the designs of power projects at the level of Indus Water Commission. The two projects are in an advance stage and are likely to be completed by the end of this year. Earlier, it took a Ministerial meeting to make Pakistan agree to Salal power project. Under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has exclusive right over three of the common rivers-Indus, Jhelum and Chenab-while India has exclusive right over Sutlej, Ravi and Beas.