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March 22, 2017

India agrees to change design of Miyar project

Top Story

March 22, 2017

Accepts Pakistan’s arguments; no consensus on Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower plants as both sides stick to their guns; Pak officials to inspect two projects

ISLAMABAD: The two-day Pak-India talks at the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters (PCIW) ended here on Tuesday, with India agreeing to change the design of its 120 MW Miyar hydropower project, Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Mirza Asif Baig told The News.

“Pakistan forcefully raised its objections to the design of the Miyar project with convincing arguments proving that it completely negated the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty,” he said.

In the meeting, one of the top officials who was part of Pakistan’s delegation disclosed that Islamabad remained dominant in terms of arguments, compelling the Indian side to withdraw the design of the Miyar hydropower project and come up with another design as per the provisions of the treaty.

“However, on 1,500 MW Pakal Dul Hydropower plant and 48 MW Lower Kalnai, both sides could not come up with any kind of consensus as each side remained glued to its guns and did not budge.”

The Miyar Hydropower plant is located on Miyar Nallah — a right bank tributary of Chenab River.It joins the Chenab 106km and 253km upstream of 300MW Dulhasti hydropower project and the Working Boundary respectively. It is the run-of-the river project with a barrage type structure and design height of 27 meters above bed stream. The design of the Miyar project was received by Pakistan from India on May 2009. Pakistan carried out a detailed review of the design following the guidelines mentioned in the treaty and communicated its objections to India on August 7.

Pakistan had objected to the placement of spillway, magnitude of pondage, intake and freeboard and wanted the Miyar project to have pondage of 0.28 Mm3 against the 1.88 Mm3 of pondage.

Pakistan has proposed a surface gated free-overflow spillway design. It also highlighted an anomaly in India’s spillway design that it can pass the design flood of 832 meter cubic per second.

Asif Baig said the Pakistan Indus Commission’s visit to India was expected before August 2017.Coming to the Pakal Dul hydropower project, the official said Pakistan would inspect the said project which was being constructed on the Marusadar River — a major right bank tributary of the Chena River in the Indian held Kashmir.

It confluences with Chenab about 225 kms upstream of Marala Barrage and 76 km of Baglihar Dam. It is concrete faced rock fill dam with the height of 167 meters.The said project will be having a storage of 88,000 acre feet which will be filled every year during the flood time (June 21 to August 31). The reservoir will store water every year and release it in the winter season.

Pakistan says the tunnel spillway should be raised closer to the DSL level and the raising would not reduce its discharge capacity.Islamabad, during the talks, also argued that the placement of tunnel spillway 40 meters below the DSL enables drawdown flushing, which was not permitted to India under the treaty.

Pakistan also raised its concern saying that there should be a mechanism of data exchange to ensure that the reservoir was being filled as per paragraph 18(C) of Annexure E when the discharge above Marala is less than 55,000 cubic feet per second from June 21 to 31 August.

Talking about the 48MW Lower Kalnai, the official said the project was being constructed by India on the Lower Kalnai River, which was also a left bank tributary of the Chenab River.It joins Chenab about 19 km downstream of Dulhasti hydropower project and 180 km upstream of the Working Boundary.

Pakistan has raised its objections to freeboard, pondage, spillway and intake, saying it would rather inspect the project during visit to India.However, the press release issued four hours after the PCIW’s meeting says the 113th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission was held on 20-21 March, 2017 at Islamabad.

In the meeting, discussions were held on India’s proposed Miyar, Lower Kalnai and Pakal Dul hydropower projects as well as on matters pertaining to exchange of data and conducting tours and meetings of Indus Commission.

On the Miyar hydropower project, India has withdrawn its design after Pakistan had raised objections to it in the previous meetings of the commission.On the other two projects, discussions were held on Pakistan’s prior objections relating to pondage and freeboard of Lower Kalnai and freeboard and spillway of Pakal Dul Hydropower projects.

The Indian side has agreed to re-consider Pakistan’s observations about these projects and will respond in the next meeting of the commission.