ISLAMABAD: A three-member committee headed by Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), has held India responsible for building Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project in violation of the Indus Water Treaty and declared Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, former commissioner of Pakistan Commission of Indus Water as innocent, said sources on Friday.
Shah was earlier found helping and facilitating India build the project as per the preliminary report furnished by Imtiaz Tajwar, secretary Wapda, they said.
The committee was constituted to assess the criminal negligence on the part of the then commissioner of Pakistan Commission of Indus Water in the light of the report of Tajwar by the then secretary water and power Imtiaz Qazi when Naveed Qamar was the minister for water and power, said sources.
A 57-metre high Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project has now been completely developed in the Leh District on the River Indus and is now operational from where the sustained and cheaper supply of electricity is being ensured to the Indian troops in Siachen.
In addition, a 42-metre high Chuttak hydroelectric project also got completed on the River Suru, a tributary of Indus in the Kargil district of the Indian-held Kashmir, said sources.
The projects will reduce the flow of River Indus, the lifeline of Pakistan, said sources, adding that the dams can store water up to 120,000,000 cubic metres.
India has already managed to get approval of carbon credits amounting to $482,083 in seven years ($68,869 per annum) from the United Nations for two controversial projects, Nimoo-Bazgo and Chuttak hydropower, which are not in line with the Indus Water Treaty, after showing that it has got the clearance report on trans-boundary environmental impact assessment of the projects from Pakistan.
However, the ministry could not fix the responsibility of the officials of the ministry of environment and foreign affairs involved in clearing the projects in terms of the trans-boundary environmental impact assessment except framing out of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that in the future, such negligence could not take place, they said.
“Yes, we have received the much-awaited inquiry report of the three-member committee after the preliminary report of Imtiaz Tajwar, secretary Wapda, but we are shocked to read the contents of the report that has declared Jamaat Ali Shah as innocent and India has been held for building the Nimoo-Bazgo project by flouting Indus Water Treaty,” said a senior official of the ministry of water and power.
“Declaring India as responsible for building the project is just like terming the thief as a thief. The report did not fix the responsibility of PCIW at all, which is supposed to safeguard Pakistan’s water interests in upper riparian country-India.” And terming PCIW’s commissioner as innocent is just like to push the dirt under the carpet. When asked as to whether this report will be accepted by the ministry of water and power or not, the official said, the report is currently being analysed and the decision is yet to be made to either accept or reject the report. The ministry is analysing as to why there is huge difference between the Raghib and Tajwar reports.
When contacted, Nargis Sethi, water and power secretary said that she is still naïve to several issues of the ministry, including the issue of Nimoo-Bazgo project and let her see Raghib’s report, then she will be able to comment on it.
Earlier, the report furnished by Tajwar revealed that Shah did not play his due role and remained silent about the Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project that was built by India from 2002 to 2005 and between 2007, 2008 and 2009, said sources, adding that he did not raise any observations during Pakistan-India meeting at the level of Permanent Indus Commission of Indus Waters.
The most alarming aspect of the disclosure is that PCIW team never visited the project before and during the construction period of the project, which triggers doubts about the involvement of senior PCIW officials in facilitating India.
However, Tajwar’s report said that Jamaat Ali Shah was told by India that it is going to construct the Nimoo-Bazgo project six months ago before the initiation of its construction.
Shah objected the design of the project, terming it in negation of the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, said sources.
According to the Tajwar report, the Military Intelligence Directorate of the government of Pakistan had informed on June 6, 2005 that the Indian government is planning to construct the Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project and the project is likely to be completed by 2010.
The report also said that ISI further informed on July 25, 2005 that Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has visited Leh, Kargil and Siachen Glacier on June 11, 2005 and laid the foundation stone of Nimoo-Bazgo and Chuttak hydroelectric power plants. Similarly, ISI on September 7, 2005 shared the information about the visit of the Indian prime minister to Siachen and Kargil and with reference to deputy chief minister; it was informed that the project will be completed soon.
The report also revealed that the PCIW after remained silent for three years in 2007, 2008, 2009 about the project, however, astonishingly in 2010, Pakistan Commission of Indus Water started vigorously following the project at all levels when it was a known fact that after completion of the project like Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project, it is impossible to change the design. At this stage neither any court nor neutral expert may give a decision against the completed project, which is built on a huge cost for the public interest. According to sources, Kamal Majidulah, special assistant to the prime minister on water also played a pivotal role in initiating probe against Shah. The government of Pakistan has decided to move international court of arbitration against the Nimoo-Bazgo project, which was built by India in sheer violation of the Indus Water Treaty.