India agrees to give more data on western river projects to Pakistan: Report
India has agreed to provide additional data on several western hydropower projects to Pakistan during an annual meeting between the officials of the two countries held here under the Permanent Commission on Indus Waters (PCIW), a media report said on Thursday.
The three-day meeting between the two commissioners of PCIW completed discussions on all agenda items on Wednesday. The talks were held in a very cordial environment and the final outcome of crucial parleys is expected to be announced on Thursday.
According to the Dawn newspaper, Pakistan raised objections regarding 10 projects including Kulan Ramwari, Feb-II, Tamasha Hydro, Baltikulan, Darbuk Shyok, Nummu Chilling, Kargil Hunderman, Phagla and Mandi HEP.
Nine of them are in the small power project category of 25MW and below. On these smaller projects, India had shared some data that was unacceptable to Islamabad because of gaps in the manner and technical charts some of them were illegible, it said.
The Indian side explained that the provincial and state governments normally lacked in maintaining design and engineering details in the matter of small projects but would get back to the relevant institutions and agencies to update documents as required under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, the report said.
Pakistan provided a list of 15-20 additional objections to these projects to be addressed by India, it said.
Islamabad has raised five major objections to 624MW Kiru and 48MW Lower Kalnai projects which, it believed, violated the 1960 treaty. These pertained to freeboard, intake, spillway, bondage and low-level outlet.
The Indian side agreed to examine the objections with an open mind. India agreed to substantiate its viewpoint on the objections with additional data and convey its response within two weeks. It also agreed to arrange a tour by the Pakistani team within the current year, the report said.
Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehr Ali Shah led the Pakistani side comprising officials of the Water and Power Development Authority, Meteorological Department, Punjab Irrigation, Federal Flood Commission, Nespak and the foreign affairs ministry.
The India delegation was led by its commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena and included experts of relevant departments.
The meeting took place amid the chill in bilateral relations over the Kashmir issue.
Under the provisions of Article VIII(5) of the Indus Waters Treaty, the Permanent Indus Commission is required to meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan. The last meeting of the Commission was held on March 23-24 2021 in New Delhi.
Under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the eastern rivers – Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi – amounting to around 33-million-acre feet (MAF) annually is allocated to India for unrestricted use.
The waters of western rivers – Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – amounting to around 135 MAF annually have been assigned largely to Pakistan. India is permitted to construct the run of the river plants on western rivers with limited storage as per criteria specified in the treaty.
The pact also gives the right to Pakistan to raise objections to designs of Indian hydroelectric projects on the western rivers.
Pakistan has raised objections on the design of these projects.
India, however, asserts that the design of the project is fully compliant with the provisions of the IWT and certified by the Central Water Commission and the Central Electricity Authority, the apex organisations of the country in the field of water resources and power.