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April 17, 2018

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Pakistan says WB helped India complete Kishenganga project

Pakistan says WB helped India complete Kishenganga project

ISLAMABAD: The pause taken by the World Bank in December 2016 that is still in place over the finalisation of mechanism for either appointing a COA or a neutral expert has provided the time enough to India to complete the Kishenganga project, Pakistan told the Bank about its apprehension in clear words in its second communication seen by The News.

It is pertinent to mention that The News had published the story on its edition of November 2017 with headline of “India completes Kishenganga project with faulty design.” However, Pakistan wrote the letter to World Bank on April 3, 2018, saying that the pause taken by the Bank has provided the time to Indian side to erect the Kishenganga project.

The pause was taken because of the impasse that had emerged in the wake of stance taken by Pakistan and India as former wanted the resolution at the level of Court of Arbitration of the disputed projects of Kishenganga and Rattle Hydropower projects, being constructed on Jehlum and Chenab rivers by India, whereas latter desired the decision by Neutral Expert. This had compelled World Bank to announce ‘pause’ on December 12, 2016 till the agreement on procedure or mechanism between the parties to the dispute --- Pakistan and India.

World Bank that brokered the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 helped India in erection of the Kishenganga project with ‘faulty designs’, says the latest communication sent to the Bank. “We have asked the Bank’s president to do away with the pause and constitute the court of arbitration recalling that the top management of the Bank had initiated the process of lots draws to select the personality for appointing three umpires for Court of Arbitration and under the lots draws, the name of World Bank’s president was selected.

Pakistan argued saying that since the World Bank’s president has been selected to name three umpires for COA, so it should further initiate the process to complete the task and initiate the arbitration’s proceedings. Pakistan and India each will nominate their two judges and this is how the court of arbitration will be comprising 7 judges. In the communication with the Bank, Pakistan further asked if the ‘pause’ continues unabated, then India will also be able to complete the Rattle hydropower project with the objectionable deigns that will inflict the huge loss to the water inserts of the lower riparian country.

The top government official said that Pakistan still has the opportunity to get the design of erected Kishenganga modified in such a way that the project will not hurt and Pakistan water interests would also be ensured once the COA is constituted and Pakistan gets the justice. He said that ball is in the court of World Bank and if it does not move, then non-other than the Bank will be responsible for any misadventure between the two nuclear power as the water is lifeline of Pakistan.

Under the dispute resolution enshrined in Indus Waters Treaty, World Bank has the role as it is also the party to the dispute between Pakistan and India. Pakistan had called for resolution of disputes over Kishanganga project on the Neelum River and 850MW Rattle hydropower project on the Chenab.

Pakistan believed that Kishanganga’s poundage should be a maximum of one million cubic meters instead of 7.5 million cubic meters, intake should be up to four meters and spillways should be raised to nine meters.

About the Rattle project, Pakistan had four objections. Freeboard should be one meter instead of two meters, poundage should be a maximum of eight million cubic meters instead of 24 million, intake level should be at 8.8 meters and spillways at the height of 20 meters.

It believes the Indian design of Rattle project would reduce Chenab flows by 40 per cent at Head Marala and cause considerable irrigation loss to crops. The Rattle dam is believed to be three times larger than the Baglihar dam.

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