World Bank Ap­proves In­dia’s Kis­hanganga, Ra­tle Projects

Al­lows con­struc­tion of power plants on trib­u­taries of Jhelum and Chenab rivers pro­vided In­dia abides by con­di­tions laid down in In­dus Wa­ters Treaty

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Press Trust of In­dia

Wash­ing­ton: In­dia is al­lowed to con­struct hy­dro­elec­tric power fa­cil­i­ties on trib­u­taries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with cer­tain re­stric­tions un­der the1960 In­dus Wa­ters Treaty (IWT), the World Bank has said. The World Bank's com­ments came as of­fi­cials from In­dia Pak­istan con­cluded the sec­re­tary-level talks over the IWT.

Pak­istan op­poses the con­struc­tion of the Kis­hanganga (330 megawatts) and Ra­tle (850 megawatts) hy­dro­elec­tric power plants be­ing built by In­dia in Jammu and Kash­mir, the global lender said in a fact sheet is­sued on Tues­day.

Not­ing that the two coun­tries dis­agree over whether the tech­ni­cal de-

RAIS­ING OB­JEC­TION

sign fea­tures of the two hy­dro­elec­tric plants con­tra­vene the treaty, the World Bank said the IWT des­ig­nates th­ese two rivers as well as the In­dus as the “Western Rivers” to which Pak­istan has un­re­stricted use.

“Among other uses, In­dia is per­mit­ted to con­struct hy­dro­elec­tric power fa­cil­i­ties on th­ese rivers

RE­SUM­ING TALKS

sub­ject to con­straints spec­i­fied in an­nex­ures to the treaty,” the Bank said in its fact sheet.

It noted that the talks on the tech­ni­cal is­sues of the IWT took place this week “in a spirit of good­will and co­op­er­a­tion”.

The par­ties have agreed to con­tinue dis­cus­sions on wa­ter is­sues and re­con­vene in Septem­ber in Wash­ing­ton DC, it said in a separate state­ment.

In the lengthy fact sheet, the World Bank said Pak­istan asked it to fa­cil­i­tate the set­ting up of a Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion to look into its con­cerns about the de­signs of the two hy­dro­elec­tric power projects.

On the other hand, In­dia had asked for the ap­point­ment of a neu­tral ex­pert to look into the is­sues, con­tend­ing the con­cerns Pak­istan raised were “tech­ni­cal” ones.

The IWT was signed in 1960 af­ter nine years of ne­go­ti­a­tions between In­dia and Pak­istan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a sig­na­tory. The World Bank's role in re­la­tion to “dif­fer­ences” and “dis­putes” is lim­ited to the des­ig­na­tion of peo­ple to ful­fil cer­tain roles when re­quested by ei­ther or both of the par­ties, the fact sheet said.

Ear­lier, in a let­ter dated July 25, the World Bank had as­sured Indian Am­bas­sador to the US Navtej Sarna its "con­tin­ued neu­tral­ity and im­par­tial­ity in help­ing the par­ties to find and am­i­ca­ble way for­ward."

The two coun­tries last held talks over the two projects in March this year dur­ing the meet­ing of the Per­ma­nent In­dus Com­mis­sion (PIC) in Pak­istan.

Pak­istan had ap­proached the World Bank last year, rais­ing con­cerns over the de­signs of two hy­dro­elec­tric­ity projects lo­cated in Jammu and Kash­mir. It had de­manded that the World Bank, which is the me­di­a­tor between the two coun­tries un­der the 57year-old wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion pact, set up a court of ar­bi­tra­tion to look into its con­cerns.

In­dia had asked for a neu­tral ex­pert to look into Pak­istan’s ob­jec­tion, con­tend­ing that con­cerns raised were tech­ni­cal in na­ture GETTY IIMAGES

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