“India can continue ‘all works’ on Kishenganga”

Last Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 14:21

Islamabad: India can "continue with all
works" related to the Kishenganga hydro-electric project in
Jammu and Kashmir except any permanent work on the riverbed
that may inhibit restoration of the river`s full flow, the
International Court of Arbitration has said.

In an interim ruling issued on Friday, the court in The
Hague, which was approached by Pakistan, said it was necessary
to lay down certain interim measures in order to "avoid
prejudice to the final solution" of the dispute as provided
under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.

While proceedings continued at the Court, the ruling
said, it "is open to India to continue with all works relating
to the Kishenganga Hydro-Electric Project" except "any
permanent works on or above the Kishenganga-Neelum riverbed at
the Gurez site that may inhibit the restoration of the full
flow of that river to its natural channel" after the final
verdict.

The ruling stated that India "could proceed with the construction of the
sub-surface foundations" of the dam, "erect temporary
cofferdams and operate the by-pass tunnel it has said to have
completed", "temporarily dry out the riverbed of the
Kishenganga-Neelum at the Gurez valley" and "excavate the
riverbed."

The court said that, under the current timetable, it
intended to give its final verdict "late in 2012 or early in
2013."

It said: "It follows that it cannot be `necessary` to
order a halt of any construction activity on the (Kishenganga
project) that will take place after the issuance of the
Court`s final Award."

The interim ruling further said India "may utilise the
temporary diversion tunnel it is said to have completed at the
Gurez site, and may construct and complete temporary
cofferdams to permit the operation of the temporary diversion
tunnel."

The court gave its interim ruling in response to an
appeal filed by Pakistan, which alleged India was diverting
the flow of the river and violating the Indus Waters Treaty by
going ahead with the project.

A statement issued by Pakistan`s presidency late last
night highlighted the court`s direction that India should not
go ahead with any permanent work that could affect the river
flow after the final verdict but did not mention the fact that
the court had ruled that India could continue all other works.

The interim ruling further said India and Pakistan should
"arrange for periodic joint inspections of the dam site at
Gurez in order to monitor" that the court`s directive
regarding permanent works was being implemented.

It said the two countries should submit by December 19 a
"joint report setting forth the areas of agreement and any
points of disagreement that may arise" regarding the
implementation of its order.

Pakistan had informed the court in July that India could
not divert the route of the Kishenganga-Neelum river under the
Indus Waters Treaty.

Pakistan has claimed that the project would rob it of 15
per cent of its share of river waters. It also accused India
of trying to divert the river in order to harm Pakistan`s
Neelum-Jhelum hydro-electric project.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 14:21

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