JK To Invite Fresh Bids To Quantify IWT Losses

JK To Invite Fresh Bids To Quantify IWT Losses

13 June 2013
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Government would afresh invite bids at international level for quantification of the losses suffered by the State on account of Indus Water Treaty (IWT), after an international consultancy short-listed for the job backed out last month. “Yes, we will invite fresh tenders at the international level to get the losses quantified,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told Greater Kashmir at a function here on Thursday. The M-s Halcrow Consulting India Ltd, a part of M-s Halcrow Group of UK, had won the bid for the work earlier following which the State Cabinet approved hiring it for the job on April 3. However, the company rejected the offer citing the bid validity for the task has expired. Greater Kashmir exclusively reported about the Halcrow’s decision on 14th of last month. Following the development, State Power Development Corporation (SPDC) took up the matter with the Power Development Department (PDD) headed by Omar. Rough estimates suggest that J&K has suffered more than Rs 20,000 crore losses due to the treaty which puts a rider on exploitation of water from three rivers flowing to Pakistan. “Unfortunately they (Halcrow) gave it up,” Omar said. “We can’t sacrifice transparency and hence the entire process will be taken afresh soon.” A senior PDD official said the PDC was waiting for the reply from the Department on further action. The State government had in 2009 floated the idea to get the losses quantified, for the first time after the IWT, a water sharing arrangement between India and Pakistan was brokered by the World Bank in 1960. The Government claimed that once armed with figures on losses suffered due to the treaty, it would approach the Government of India for compensation. Under the agreement, India has exclusive rights over three major eastern rivers- Ravi, Beas and Sutlej - before they enter Pakistan while as Pakistan has rights over three western rivers – Indus, Jhelum and Chenab - that flow through J&K. The treaty has withstood two wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and some minor conflicts between the two neighboring countries. The PDD official said the quantification of the losses would have huge bearing on the State’s economic relations with New Delhi. “We are often damned that our survival is dependent on funding from Government of India. This (quantification of losses) will show how our interests were sacrificed for India’s cause,” the official said. “We will be in a position to plead our case that we have been deprived of genuine rights.”