The Central Water Commission (CWC) has finalised detailed project report (DPR) of the Ujh multi-purpose project and submitted it to the Jammu and Kashmir government for its evaluation so that the construction can begin as early as possible.
The project, which is to come up in Kathua district, will store around 0.65 million acre feet (MAF) of water of the river Ujh (a tributary of river Ravi) to irrigate 30,000 hectares of land and produce more than 200MW of hydro-power, Times of India (ToI) reported.
Under the Indus Water Treaty which was signed with Pakistan in 1960, water of Ravi is allocated to India. It, however, took the CWC 16 years to complete the process of detailed project report (DPR) after getting a formal nod to do so in the year 2001, according to ToI.
“The DPR was fast-tracked pursuant to decision taken in the meeting of the task force on Indus Waters, chaired by principal secretary to Prime Minister, in December 2016. This will help India to utilise a part of the flow that presently goes across border unutilised,” said an official statement.
The task force, chaired by Nripendra Mishra (principal secretary to PM), was formed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a review meeting on the IWT – a water distribution pact with Pakistan – in the aftermath of series of alleged cross-border strikes including Uri attack in 2016. It was decided in the meeting that India would explore all options to utilise the maximum water of the Indus river system which is legally given to it under the 1960 Treaty, according to ToI.
Under the IWT, water of eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) is allocated to India. Though the country is under obligation to let flow the water of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) to Pakistan, it has rights to use the water from the western rivers for its domestic purposes, irrigation and generating hydro-electric power.
Under the Treaty, India is permitted to construct storage capacities on the western rivers up to 3.6 million acre feet (MAF) for various purpose.
An expert panel of environment ministry recently green lit the 800 MW Bursar hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir without even a site visit, setting in motion “India’s ambitious plan to utilise its share of water from western tributaries of the river Indus,” according to a ToI report.
The Bursar hydro-electric project is a storage project in which the flow of water can be regulated not only to the benefit of this project but all downstream projects such as Pakal Dul, Dul Hasti, Rattle, Baglihar, Sawalkot and Salal hydroelectric projects.
‘RACE TO TAP THE HIMALAYAS’
Earlier, this month news agency AFP reported that India and Pakistan were in a “race to tap the Himalayas.”
The arch rivals have been building duelling power plants along the banks of the turquoise Neelum River for years, the agency had reported, citing two projects on opposite sides of the LoC, which “are close to completion, fuelling tensions between the neighbours.”
“The rivalry on the Neelum is underlined by both countries’ unquenchable need for freshwater, as their surging populations and developing economies continue to stress already diminished waters tables.”
(Picture for representational purpose)