J & K

India, Pak to hold talks under World Bank on two J&K hydroelectric projects

September 10, 2017 01:12 PM
Site of hydroelectric plants - Kishanganga (330 megawatts)

NEW DELHI: As dispute between India and Pakistan over construction of two hydroelectric projects in Jammu & Kashmir remains unresolved, both the countries will hold another round of discussion in Washington next week (September 14-15) in presence of World Bank officials to reach at an acceptable solution.

"It will be technical discussion on Ratle and Kishanganga hydroelectric projects", said an official. First round of such discussion had taken place in Washington during July 31 and August 1.

(SUBHEAD)

A multi-disciplinary Indian delegation, led by water resources secretary Amarjit Singh, will head for the US amid indications that the country is not keen to alter design of the two contentious projects - Ratle and Kishanganga - in Jammu & Kashmir as it believes that the construction would not, in any case, interfere with the agreed points between India and Pakistan under the 1960 Indus water treaty (IWT).

Pakistan had approached the World Bank last year, raising its objections over designs of the two under-constructed projects which India wants to complete as early as possible to utilise its legitimate share of water under the IWT. Pakistan believes that the existing designs of the projects would not let adequate water to flow to its side.

The Indian delegation will include technical experts from the ministry of power, Central Water Commission (CWC), ministry of external affairs and Indian Commissioner for Indus Water.

India and Pakistan currently disagree over whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants - Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) - contravene the IWT. The World Bank is not financing any of these projects

The Kishanganga plant is proposed on a tributary of the Jhelum River while the Ratle will come up on the Chenab river. The Treaty designates these two rivers as well as the Indus as the "Western Rivers" to which Pakistan has rights of unrestricted use. Among other uses, under the IWT, India is, however, permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to certain constraints specified in Annexures to the Treat

The Treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory. It sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus commission, which has a commissioner from each country.

The World Bank's role in relation to "differences" and "disputes" is limited to the designation of people to fulfill certain roles when requested by either or both of the countries.

 

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