Cabinet To Appoint Consultant To Quantify Losses Suffered By J&K Due To Indus Water Treaty

Cabinet To Appoint Consultant To Quantify Losses Suffered By J&K Due To Indus Water Treaty

1 April 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: In order to substantiate State’s claims and take the issue of compensation for the Indus Water Treaty to its logical conclusion, the Cabinet, which is meeting tomorrow will put its seal of approval on the appointment of consultant to quantify the losses suffered by Jammu and Kashmir due to the discriminatory provisions of the treaty. The Indus Water Treaty, which was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, dictates in perpetuity the sharing and usage of the water of the Indus River and its tributaries. As per the Treaty, India is under an obligation to ensure unrestricted flow of water of the Western Rivers which comprise of Indus, the Jehlum and Chenab rivers and tributaries to the Pakistan. Unfortunately, for Jammu and Kashmir these rivers comprise the only three significant sources of water crossing the State which it could develop. Due to Indus Water Treaty, the State is only making limited withdrawals from the rivers for domestic use, non-consumptive use, specified agricultural use and restricted generation of hydro-electric power. Due to these limitations, the State has only been able to develop limited storage for hydropower, irrigation, flood control and domestic and other purposes. Keeping in view the State’s concern on account of losses being suffered due to discriminatory provisions of the Treaty, the Working Group on Economic Development of Jammu and Kashmir headed by Dr Rangarajan had recommended special grant for development of various power projects in the State and enhancement of free component of power to compensate the State for Indus Water Treaty losses. Thereafter, the State Government appointed a Monitoring Committee headed by Economic Advisor to oversee the implementation of various recommendations of the Working Group and the Monitoring Committee suggested the Power Development Department to commission a qualified organization to quantify the losses incurred- those which will continue to recur because of Indus Water Treaty so that credible data based on the scientific studies could be worked out and the issue of compensation for Treaty could be taken to its logical conclusion. About the enhancement of free component of power to the State from 12% to 25%, sources said that Monitoring Committee has observed that the demand for enhancement of State share to 30% has already been jointly voiced by all the hilly-special category States on the argument that hilly States don’t have adequate exploitable resources for their economic sustenance and water is their common natural resource. “Moreover, any increase in the State’s share on the basis of common demand from all hilly States would not rectify the wrong done to the State by the Indus Water Treaty as such working out losses incurred-those which will continue to recur because of IWT is imperative”, sources said quoting Monitoring Committee observations. In the backdrop of the Monitoring Committee recommendations, the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation was directed for quantification of losses suffered by the State on account of Indus Water Treaty and accordingly the tenders were invited for appointment of consultant. Though there was poor response to the tendering and re-tendering exercise, the JKSPDC opined that since there was need of a credible data based on the scientific studies by independent agencies to substantiate the State’s claims for the compensation the process should not be delayed. “Now the proposal to engage M-s Halcrow Consulting India Pvt Ltd as consultant by the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation to quantify the losses suffered by the State on account of IWT is being placed before the Cabinet for approval”, sources said, adding “the company has quoted cost of Rs 1.89 crore for the task”. It is pertinent to mention here that Cabinet Sub-Committee constituted to look into various issues arising out of the terms and conditions of the entrustment of hydroelectric projects to the NHPC has assessed the losses caused to J&K due to IWT at Rs 18,000 crores per annum and recommended transfer of various NHPC projects to initiate compensating the State for these losses. According to the sources, Cabinet will also take decision on the proposal about enhancement in compensation for rehabilitation of dislocated families due to improvement-widening of road network in Srinagar city, re-employment of Munshi Muzaffar Hussain as Managing Director, J&K Handicrafts (Sales and Export) Corporation Ltd on contract basis and transfer of State land in village Ghanik, tehsil Jammu in favour of the Transport Department for establishment of High Tech Driving Institute.