India to build another dam on Chenab in violation of IWT

Pakistan’s water authorities express reservations over the Indian decision of the hydro-electric project over Chenab River.

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In a fresh violation of the Indus Water Treaty, India has launched another hydropower project on the River Chenab in the occupied Kashmir valley.

According to the treaty signed in 1960, three western rivers, Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab, were awarded to Pakistan and eastern rivers Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej to India.

The 540 megawatts Kwar power hydroelectric project would be constructed over the Chenab river in the district of Kishtwar, disrupting Pakistan’s water supplies. India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved over INRs 45 billion for the project on April 27.

India has approved the project despite being aware that it violates the World Bank-mediated treaty on sharing the Indus river.

Read more: Pakistan appeals to World Bank over Indian violation of Indus Water Treaty

It claimed that the 540 megawatts Kwar power project would lead to job creation and downstream economic activity in the disputed region; however, experts called it illegal while improper procedures were followed in a fast-tracking project located in a highly seismic area.

Meanwhile, Pakistan raised objections over India’s plans to build projects in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

This week, Pakistan’s Indus Water Commission said that the cabinet committee’s approval violated the Indus Water Treaty, which required India to inform Pakistan six months in advance before launching any project on the three western rivers.

The commission said that Pakistan would seek all the details about Kwar Hydro Power Project from New Delhi. It voiced concern about the Indian plans.

The talks between nuclear-armed nations may face difficulty as they meet this month.

Earlier this year, the Asian arch-rivals reaffirmed to implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) following the 117th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission.

India has already constructed several hydropower projects on Pakistan rivers in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, claiming that these were the ‘run-of-the-river’ projects allowed under the Indus Waters Treaty.

After the signing of the treaty brokered by the World Bank, India over-exploited the three eastern rivers turning them into dry sand strips, which receive water only when there are floods in India.

Read more: Deadlock in Pakistan-India water talks

Under the Indus Water Treaty, India is bound to inform Pakistan six months before initiating a new project over the western rivers, including Chenab, Jhelum, and Indus, the sources said.

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