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December 15, 2019

Violating IWT India starts Ratle Dam’s construction


December 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Disregarding Pakistan’s serious objections and ignoring World Bank’s (WB) issued “pause”, India has started work on the construction of 850MW GVK capacity Ratle Dam with hydroelectric power project in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) near Kishtwar. Pakistan has rushed to the Bank since the Dam is being built by violating Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

The government has asked Director General South Asia Affairs in the Foreign Office, Dr Muhmmad Faisal Chaudhary, to dash to Washington for knocking the doors of the WB for arbitration since India has point blank declined to oblige Pakistan’s objections to development of a 195m-long and 133m-high concrete gravity Dam.

Highly placed sources told The News here Saturday that India has initiated work quietly on the Ratle Hydroelectric Plan which is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station on the Chenab River, downstream of the village of Ratle, near Drabshalla in Kishtwar district of the IOK disputed territory.

Its height is133m and construction work will be completed in 2022 if the WB doesn’t stop it. Its active capacity will be 10,000,000m3 (8,100 acre ft) while Hydraulic head is100.39m (329.4 ft). Two power stations adjacent to one another are being constructed as water from the Dam will be diverted through Doda district, disputed territory.

Pakistan earlier asked India to stop work on Kishanganga and Ratle projects but India refused to entertain any objection. The Kishanganga project has been completed on the Jhelum River while the Ratle Dam is being constructed on Chenab River. The sources said that India has informed the WB that it would have no objection if the Bank appoints a neutral expert to hear Pakistan’s reservations, but it will not stop work on the project. Pakistan has been impressing upon the World Bank that India has been constructing dams and other projects by discarding the provisions of the IWT that will subsequently derive Pakistan its rightful share of water from the rivers flowing from the IOK.

The strategy is part of India’s deliberate efforts to harm Pakistan economically and create serious scarcity of water in it. The sources said that Pakistan has rejected Indian offer for agreement to get appointed a neutral expert since India was given undue advantage by such expert mechanism in case of construction of Baglihar Dam that too was in serious violation of the IWT. Consequently, India continued construction of the Dam.

The sources revealed that World Bank has asked for Pakistan’s representation about its plea without summoning India and a senior diplomat, Dr Muhammad Faisal Chaudhary, has been assigned to put across Pakistan’s case before the Bank. The World Bank had negotiated the treaty in early 60s, and incidentally, India has throughout been defying it blatantly.

Dr Chaudhary who is also spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs had been giving tough time to the Indians on various issues, has left for the US capital where the World Bank is housed. He had a marathon session of briefing with the officials concerned before leaving for bank headquarters. Pakistan will impress upon the bank for forcing India to agree for arbitration that has been provided in the framework of the treaty.

The sources said that India has much clout in the World Bank and in case Pakistan’s request isn’t acceded, the government will have to approach other international forum for redress since the projects which India is building, ultimately destroy Pakistan’s agriculture and convert Pakistan into a country without water.

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