India sidesteps Pakistan’s objections to build power project on Chenab River

Indian cabinet gives nod to 850-megawatt Ratle hydroelectric power project in IIOJK despite Pakistan's objections

News Desk January 22, 2021

India has decided to go ahead with a controversial power project on Chenab River in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) despite objections raised by Pakistan with the World Bank, saying that it was not in conformity with the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

The Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab rivers are reserved for Pakistan while the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej rivers are reserved for India under the treaty signed between the rival states in 1960. According to the treaty, India cannot divert the water flows of rivers reserved for Pakistan.

Read more: Indus Water Treaty: Delegation off to India for review of controversial dam sites

Pakistan had raised serious concerns over the designs of Pakal Dul, Ratle and Lower Kalnai projects and argued that India could use these reservoirs to create artificial water shortage or flooding in Pakistan. According to Islamabad, these projects have been designed in violation of the IWT.

According to a report of The Indian Express, Lieutenant Governor of IIOJK Manoj Sinha said that the approval for the 850-megawatt Ratle hydroelectric power project came at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

Pakistan has approached the World Bank with fresh protests, but the Indian government has now decided to go ahead with the construction, said the report.

In January 2019, New Delhi had accepted Islamabad’s demand for inspection of Indian hydropower projects on Chenab basin and a Pakistani team later visited the dam sites.

Pakistan had also objected over Pakal Dul’s design for violating the Sindh Taas Agreement in 2012. Pakistani officials had demanded that the freeboard height should be reduced from seven-feet to two-feet and that the installation of the seal way gates should be done with an additional 40 metres in order to bring it to 1,620 metres and align it with sea level.

However, despite Islamabad’s repeated protests over the storage of water in the dam and the provision of data in regards to its operation, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the projects.

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