January 2005 News

Indus Water Treaty Unfair To J&K: Minister

12 January 2005

New Delhi: Amid the Indo-Pak row over Baglihar hydro-power project, Jammu and Kashmir government today said the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries is 'extremely unfair' to the state and asked Islamabad to 'show flexibility' on the issue to prove its claim of being a 'friend' of Kashmiris. The PDP-led government said the state should be compensated by the Centre for the disadvantage to it because of the treaty which governs the right over six common rivers between India and Pakistan Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The 45-year-old treaty provides for exclusive use of Pakistan over first three rivers and India over the rest. 'The treaty is extremely unfair to the people of J and K. Our state is faced with acute power shortage but the water of our rivers is going to Pakistan,' state's Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig told PTI here. Pointing out that Pakistan has been claiming to be 'friend' and 'well wisher' of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he said it should prove it by allowing construction of Baglihar hydro-project on Chenab river in Doda district. 'Instead of raising technical objections over the project, Pakistan should demonstrate that it really cares for the people of the state. It should show flexibility on an issue which is humanitarian in nature,' Baig said, pointing out that the project would help the electricity-starved state meet some its power needs. The J and K Minister's comments came less than a week after Indo-Pak Secretary-level talks on Baglihar project failed and Islamabad decided to approach World Bank for appointment of a neutral expert to resolve the dispute. Pakistan has objected to various aspects of the project, including its height, and decided to break talks but India has said there was still scope for convergence of views. Criticising the treaty, Baig said it had been hampering funding of power projects in the state. 'Foreign agencies are desisting from funding the projects because of the fear that Pakistan may raise objections,' he said. Underlining that the state was not asking for 'remodelling or reshaping' of the treaty as it was an agreement between two sovereign countries, Baig said, however, that J and K should be compensated for the losses it has suffered because of the pact. He said the Union government should raise the quota of power given to the state from the central pool from 12 per cent to at least 25 per cent. 'We are not seeking cash but benefits of water resources,' he noted.


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