India fast-tracks projects on Indus to get maximum water resources

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Indian government has already prioritised three hydel projects in Chenab and its tributary

Ever since the Uri Attacks by Pakistan, India has taken many strategic actions to stall Pakistan’s terror acts. Although Pakistan has rejected any terrorism related activities on the face of media, the surgical strikes by India on POK was a befitting reply to Pakistan. However the degrading talks between the two countries opened up some other fissures, one of them was the cause of Balochistan and the other being the Indus water treaty.

In the wake of continuous ceasefire violations across the border, on September 27, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi asked for a review of the water use within the ambit of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan, as India plans to share maximum water from the western tributaries of Indus.

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Indian government has already prioritised three hydel projects in Chenab and its tributary —Sawalkot (1,856 MW), Pakal Dul (1,000 MW) and Bursar (800 MW). Not only are these huge projects but India’s urgency to build them in a time bound fashion expresses India’s will to counter terrorism.

The Sawalkot project for which centre is in constant touch with J&K government will generate 1856 MW power and likely to displace 4,400 individuals. “Maximising use of water must be priority. It is good that the government has sincerely moved to execute pending projects to legitimately use its share of water within IWT. This is the most realistic option well within the framework of the treaty,” said Uttam Sinha of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

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Recently in an election rally in Punjab, PM Modi made it clear that the “Indus river water belongs to our farmers.” The Indus water treaty was orchestrated by the World Bank in 1960, on the sharing of waters of the six rivers between India and Pakistan. IWT gives India rights to the eastern rivers – Ravi, Sutlej, Beas and Pakistan over the western Chenab, Jhelum and Indus. Under the treaty India can build storage capacities on the western rivers of upto 3.6 million acre feet. However till this date India did not use this arbitrary power to divert the channels, but the Uri attacks fast-tracked the long pending projects.