Row ‘watered Down’: Pak Now Talks Wastage

Row ‘watered Down’: Pak Now Talks Wastage

5 April 2010
The Indian Express


New Delhi: A month after Pakistan raised a “water controversy” by asking India not to undertake construction of power generation works on its western rivers, there seems to be a reversal in the Pakistani position. India is surprised by the fact that after a shrill ‘non paper’ presented during the Foreign Secretary Level talks that wanted all projects in Jammu and Kashmir to be stopped, not only has Pakistan admitted that water is not being stolen by India but has also said it got a bumper crop of wheat and rice. In an interview to a Pakistani news channel on Friday, Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi clearly stated that water is being wasted in Pakistan and has not been diverted by India. “It’s (water) not being stolen by India, it is being wasted in Pakistan. The average canal supplies of Pakistan are 104 million acre feet and the water available from the farmgate is about 70 million acre feet. Where do the 34 million acre feet go? It is not being stolen in India, it is being wasted in Pakistan,” Qureshi told the news channel. Ads by Google Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had also said in a separate interview a month earlier that the country has had a bumper crop and currently has surplus wheat and rice. “We had a bumper crop of wheat after we were short of wheat and there were riots. When I took over as the Prime Minister there was a shortage of wheat... Now there is a surplus. There is so much surplus that we have new storage constructed for our strategic reserves. We have surplus rice, a bumper crop and people are getting good price for cotton,” Gilani said in a March 16 interview to the Financial Times. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had also said in a separate interview a month earlier that the country has had a bumper crop and currently has surplus wheat and rice. “We had a bumper crop of wheat after we were short of wheat and there were riots. When I took over as the Prime Minister there was a shortage of wheat... Now there is a surplus. There is so much surplus that we have new storage constructed for our strategic reserves. We have surplus rice, a bumper crop and people are getting good price for cotton,” Gilani said in a March 16 interview to the Financial Times. Officials are not discounting that this could be a duplicity in position, given the fact that Pakistan is facing heat on the water crises at home. However, both the statements vindicate the Indian position that the entire share of water under the Indus Waters Treaty is going to Pakistan and India is actually underutilising its share under the agreement. Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal on Sunday rejected Pakistan’s allegations of stealing water and said India has been providing its share of water to the country as per the 1960 treaty. In Karachi, Sabharwal said the water flow depends on the melting of snow and quantum of rainfall. He pointed out that India suffered serious drought conditions last year. “Preposterous and completely unwarranted allegations of ‘stealing water’ and waging a ‘water war’ are being made against India. Such accusations bear no relation whatsoever to the reality on the ground,” he said.


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