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India to let Pakistan inspect its hydropower projects

02 November, 2018

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LAHORE: India to fulfill its commitment of getting its two hydropower projects -- 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal — inspected by Pakistani experts next month after the local (Punchayat) elections in the held Kashmir end by Dec 15.

On the other hand, Islamabad is also set to send a reminder in-writing to New Delhi in a day or two, urging it again to fulfill its promise of allowing Pakistani experts inspect the projects at Chenab and Jhelum basins, according to a senior official of the ministry of water resources.

“We approached India’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Pradeep Kumar Saxena by phone a couple days ago and urged him to give us schedule for our tour to the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal projects. He replied that it is not possible during first or second week of December due to local Punchayat elections in the state,” Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehar Ali Shah told Dawn on Thursday.

“Following conversation with my counterpart, I am of the view that they (India) will surely get the projects at Chenab basin inspected by us after the elections. I am still very optimistic since India is legally and morally bound to do this under the treaty. So they cannot ignore this,” the commissioner maintained. About Kishanganga inspection, the official said it might be possible during next year.

Under the Indus water Treaty, both Pakistan and India are bound to inspect projects, share data related to water flow, storage and releases, floods.

The treaty also empowers the two countries to mutually resolve their water related issues on their own or through arbitration and appointment of independent experts and other relevant forums.

India had earlier agreed during 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission held between the two countries from Aug 29 to 30 in Lahore to allow Pakistani experts inspect the projects at Chenab basin by end of September last. It also agreed to schedule visit of Pakistani experts for inspection of the Kishanganga project at a later stage.

Similarly Islamabad had agreed to allow New Delhi to carry out inspection of the Kotri barrage over the Indus after September. As a result, India agreed to a scheduled programme (Oct 7 to 11) for the visit of Pakistani experts. But, later, it postponed the same on the pretext of some local bodies elections.

Pakistan had also asked India during last month’s first week to immediately share the data showing inflow and discharge of water at the Kishanganga dam and water flows in different rivers. However, India is yet to do so.

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