New Delhi March 28 (PTI/Indian Express): India and Pakistan will hold a two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission here from Thursday to discuss various issues under the Indus Water Treaty, sources said on Tuesday.
This will be the 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which should meet at least once a year as per the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), they said.
India’s Indus water commissioner PK Saxena and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials will be part of the Indian delegation for the annual meeting. Pakistan’s six-member delegation will be led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.
The meeting will take place in the backdrop of the continuing tension between the two countries over a host of issues, including the alleged harassment of diplomats.
“The meeting will be held on March 29 and March 30,” a government source told PTI.
According to the sources, the issues relating to India’s Ratle hydroelectricity, Pakul Dul and Lower Kalnai projects, located in Jammu and Kashmir, may come up for discussion during the meeting.
Pakistan contends that Ratle (850 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) projects — located in the Chenab basin — were violating the IWT, signed in 1960.
“But India is very clear that designs of the projects are in accordance with the treaty,” a sources said.
The sources said that the issues concerning the 340 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project, located on river Jhelum’s tributary in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, may not figure during the meeting since the project has already been commissioned.
The PIC had last met on March 20 and March 21 in Islamabad.
The IWT covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
The treaty specifies that waters from the three western rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chenab are reserved for Pakistan, while waters from eastern rivers, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas are for reserved for India.
Will Stop Water Going to Pakistan says Gadkari
Meanwhile Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said in Rohtak on Monday that the Indian government would take steps to stop the unutilised Indian share of water flowing to Pakistan through three rivers. “The issue of three rivers whose water was given to Pakistan is a separate issue, but the water of our three rivers whose water is necessary for our development is also going to Pakistan. The Indian government has decided to stop water (of our share) of three rivers to provide it to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to solve the problem of water),” said Gadkari amid cheers from farmers. The minister was addressing the concluding session of Agri Leadership Summit-2018 in Rohtak, Haryana.
“Three dams will be constructed in Uttarakhand to stop the unutilised share of India in the river waters from flowing back to Pakistan. Water thus saved would be brought to Haryana through the Yamuna to overcome shortage and feed the parched lands in the state. It will be taken to other states also,” he said.
“During Partition, India got three rivers but we could not utilise our share of the waters, which kept flowing back to Pakistan. Now, the Centre has decided to stop the flow of the country’s due share into Pakistan and utilise it to feed our parched lands.” He added, “The Centre had taken several steps to utilise water flowing waste into the ocean. Through drip irrigation, farmers will get three times more water, which would result in more than doubling the production”.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured farmers of the country one-and-a-half times the cost of production of crops as MSP and we will achieve it at any cost. In order to increase the income of farmers, the PM called a meeting today and I came straight to the summit after attending the meet,” Gadkari said.
Referring to the Indus water treaty (signed by India and Pakistan in 1960), the minister said the two countries each had got three rivers after Partition in 1947, claiming that Indian share of water was also going to Pakistan. Speaking to The Indian Express, Haryana Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar said, “The PM raised the issue of Indus water treaty earlier. But now, the minister’s statement means the matter may have reached the stage of planning.”
(The featured image at the top shows Indian Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari lighting a lamp at a function in Himachal Pradesh)