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November 18, 2015

Pakistan seeks Indian consent for neutral expert

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November 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: To initiate a legal battle at the international forum over the faulty designs of the 330-MW Kishanganga Hydropower Project being built on the Ganga River in Held Kashmir and the 850-MW Ratle Hydropower Project being erected on the Chenab River, Pakistan has formally asked India to give its consent for the appointment of a neutral expert to initiate arbitration.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has written to India, seeking its consent for the appointment of the neutral expert over the designs of the two projects as both countries at the level of the Permanent Commission of Indus Waters (PCIW) have failed to resolve the issue.
Mirza Asif Beg, commissioner of the Pakistan Commission of Indus Water, confirmed the development, saying that in case the Indian side did not give any response, Pakistan would move the World Bank for the appointment of the neutral expert. “We have exhausted all provisions enshrined in the Treaty to resolve the dispute as Pakistan is of the opinion that the said designs are not in line with the provisions of the Treaty and will cause water loss to the low riparian country. Pakistan has already hired US law firms for fighting the case. The NESPAK and the Pakistan Commission of Indus Water will provide technical input during the legal battle.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Office last week sent a statement of points of difference to India according to which India has been asked to jointly appoint the neutral expert.
Pakistan has earlier taken India to the International Court of Justice on the 450-MW Baglihar Hydropower Project wherein India got success and then took New Delhi to The Hague for the interpretation of the Kishanganga Hydropower Project.
The Hague court, in its final order, had not only asked India to increase the environmental water flow downstream from the dam to 9 cubic meters per second (Cumecs) - an increase of 112% - but also rejected the Indian government plea to reconsider or re-interpret the Permanent Court

of Arbitration order of Feb 2013 that the 330-MW Kishanganga Hydro Electric Power Project (KHEP) under construction and all other subsequent projects could not draw down the water level in the projects below the dead storage level.
India is currently carrying on both the projects along with mega storages of water on the Pakistani rivers with the designs which are completely breaching the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan had raised three objections to the Kishanganga project’s design. Pakistan also wants India to raise intake by up to 4 metres and raise spillways up to 9 metres.
On the issue of Ratle plant, Islamabad raised four objections. Pakistan wants India to maintain free board at 1 metre whereas India wants to keep it at 2 metres. In addition, India wants to keep the pondage of 24 million cubic metres, but Pakistan wants the pondage of 8 million cubic metres. Pakistan also wants that the intake of the project should be raised by up to 8.8 metres and it spillways should be raised by up to 20 metres.
India is constructing the Ratle Hydropower Project on the Chenab River and if it manages to construct the project with its existing objectionable design, the water flow of the Chenab River at Head Marala will reduce by 40 per cent that will be detrimental to irrigation in central Punjab of Pakistan.
Beg said India has awarded the project contract to a private company that will run the project on a BOT (build, operate and transfer) basis for 35 years and then hand it over to India.
This dam will be three-time larger than the Baglihar dam. India has already craved out the plan to generate 32,000 MWs of electricity on the Pakistani rivers and will have the capacity to regulate the water flows destined to Pakistan. So far India has built the Dalhasti Hydropower Project of 330-MW, Baglihar of 450-MW and now has started the Ratle project.
On the Neelum River that joins the Jhelum River in Pakistan; India has already completed the Uri-1 and Uri-II Hydropower Projects.