Pak-India water talks remain inconclusive

LAHORE - With both countries stuck to their guns over the four hydropower projects at Chenab River in Indian-held Kashmir, the fourth round of talks between Pakistan-India Indus Commissions remained inconclusive here on Sunday.
Indian delegation of Indus Water Commission had reached Lahore on Saturday to hold five-day meeting with Pakistani officials. The talks between the two commissions, mandatory to be held every year, started on Sunday after a break of two years. The last meeting between the two commissions was held in December 2011.
Sources said that India was asked to address Pakistan’s objections before starting work on four hydropower projects in Held Kashmir but the neighbouring country was not willing to do so. Similarly, they added, Pakistani officials also expressed concerns over the design of Kishanganga Dam on Jhelum River.
Pakistani delegation had visited the dam to inspect the sites of 850MW Ratle, 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 120MW Miyar and the 48MW Lower Kalnai hydropower projects on May 22 and informed the neighbouring country about its concerns.
“Indus Water Commission of Pakistan wants clear and conclusive reply from India over its technical objections on four projects but the neighbouring country’s delegation termed the dams’ sites according to the treaty,” they added.
Pakistan asked for changes in the design with special reference to the spillways and poundage, which affects the intake location. Intake of water should go up, spillways are low in elevation and these objections are needed to be taken up.
Sources said that India wanted consent of Pakistani commission over sites, which was mandatory as per Indus Water Treaty 1960.
It merits mentioning here that under the provision of the Indus Water Treaty 1960, the waters of the eastern rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi had been allocated to India and the western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab had been allocated to Pakistan except for certain uses allowed to India which include generation of hydropower through run of the river plants.
Pakistan Muttahida Kissan Mahaz, meanwhile, held a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Sunday and asked Pakistani Commission not to accept Indian water aggression.
“We request Pakistani commission for fully rejecting Indian controversial dams over Chenab in Indian Held Kashmir,” said Ayub Khan Mayo, the chief of the Mahaz. The farmers’ body also announced protest against Indian hydrology war at Wagha Border on September 6.

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