Pak withdraws objection to two J&K power projects

In a significant development, Pakistan on Monday withdrew its objection to construction of Uri-II and Chutak hydel power projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

Last Updated: May 31, 2010, 20:31 PM IST

New Delhi: In a significant development,
Pakistan on Monday withdrew its objection to construction of
Uri-II and Chutak hydel power projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

At the Indus Water Commissioner-level talks here, the
Pakistani side said it had no objection to the designs of the
two power projects after the Indian side provided details of
these, official sources said.

Pakistan had earlier 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.

The breakthrough came on the first day of three-day
Indus Water Commission talks. The Indian delegation is led by
Indus Water Commissioner G Ranganathan while the Pakistani
side is headed by his counterpart Syed Jamaat Ali Shah.

This is for the first time that Pakistan has accepted
the designs of power projects at the level of Permanent
Indus Commission, sources said. 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.

The two projects are in an advance stage and are
likely to be completed by the end of this year.

Earlier, Baglihar and Kishenganga power projects had
been delayed for long because of Pakistani objections.

On the 450-MW Baglihar project, Pakistan had even
moved the World Bank, which has the role of neutral arbitrator
under the Indus Water Treaty in the disputes between the two
countries arising.

The project could go ahead only after the World Bank
gave its clearance with suggestions for some minor changes in
design of the dam.

Kishenganga project is still under dispute, with
Pakistan refusing to give up its objections.

During today`s talks, India agreed to continue
providing Pakistan with advance flood warning for the coming
Monsoon season. India has been providing flood data to
Islamabad since 1989 as a goodwill gesture.

The flood data enables Pakistan to prepare and reduce
damages in case of flash floods.

During the three-day talks, Pakistan is likely to raise
certain issues regarding the Baglihar power project and the
Nimoo Bazgo project of Jammu and Kashmir.

Baglihar Power Project is a run-of-the-river power
project on the Chenab river in the southern Doda district of
Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had dedicated the 450-MW
Baglihar hydro electric power project to the nation on October
10, 2008.

"There are some pending issues which Pakistan is
likely to raise during the talks," sources said.

According to NHPC, the proposed Nimoo Bazgo H E Project
is a run-of-the-river scheme to harness the hydropower
potential of river Indus in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The project is likely to generate 239 Mega Units of power.

PTI