Pak for neutral determination of India's power projects

Signs of thaw in dispute over Uri II and Chutak

Islamabad also asked New Delhi to compensate it with 200,000 Million Acre Feet of water for the loss it claims to have incurred due to filling of Baglihar Dam in J&K.

According to highly-placed sources,  Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Syed Jamaat Ali Shah told his Indian counterpart G Aranganathan that Islamabad would ask for determination by neutral experts for Nimoo Bazgo Hydro-Electric Project of India if New Delhi did not act to address its concerns over the power plant.

Shah is leading an 11-member-team of Pakistan in the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) here. The PIC was set up in accordance with the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) that India and Pakistan had signed on September 19, 1960.  The Pakistani officials, however, are believed to have expressed satisfactions on the clarifications by their Indian counterparts on India’s 240 MW Uri-II and 44 MW Chutak HEPs in J&K.  

According to the IWT, Pakistan or India could seek determination by neutral expert or arbitration by the World Bank, if any dispute could not be resolved through discussions in the PIC meetings. Pakistan had on April 9 last conveyed to India its decision to seek World Bank’s arbitration in the row over the latter’s 330 MW Kishanganga Hydro-Electric Project in Baramulla district of J&K.

 The 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo project in Leh district of J&K is being developed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation on the river Indus. The project is likely to be ready for commissioning by next August.

According to the sources,  Shah told Aranganathan that the completion of the controversial Nimoo Bazgo project would significantly lessen the quantum of water flow in Indus and Suru in Pakistan and destroy the agriculture sector in the country’s Sindh Province.

The Indian officials maintained that Nimoo Bazgo is a run-of-the-river project. According to the IWT,  India could build as many run-of-the-river projects on the western rivers of Indus Basin as it wants. “All we need to do is to provide information to Pakistan about the projects six months in advance. Pakistan needs to convey its objections, if any, within three months of the receipt of information from us. But we do not need to take any formal clearance from Pakistan for such projects,” he said.

India already provided Pakistan with information about Nimoo Bazgo and 32 other projects it is building or has plans to build on Chenub, Jhelum and Indus.  Indian officials on Monday reiterated to their Pakistani counterparts that none of its projects would result in substantive reduction in quantum of water flowing across the Line of Control.

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