NHPC the real culprit

      In 2007 three- member State Finance Commission headed by former bureaucrat Dr Mehmood-ur-Rehman was constituted by PDP-congress coalition government through a legislative act. The Commission was tasked to suggest measures for equitable development of all the three regions of the state.

      The Commission, in its report submitted to the government last November, has, as per the revelations  made by Greater Kashmir (July 02, 2011), pointed to the colossal losses the state suffered on account of Indus Water Treaty and terribly devastating exploitation of state’s water resources by National Hydro-electric power Corporation. The Commission has noted that the potential state resources get drained out when New Delhi government controlled power generating agencies invest in power generation at the cost of state’s development for just 12 percent royalty.

      The Commission has blamed the successive governments for acting as ‘mute spectator’ to the losses incurred by the state for the last six decades. Raising strong voice against the injustice meted out to the state the commission mentioned that 12% free power ratio that Delhi gives to state ‘cannot be ipso facto applicable to the J&K as the state has unnatural constraints on the use of its water resources due to IWT.’ Therefore, ‘in the interest of equality and natural justice’ the Commission has recommended that the ‘state must pitch for 25 per cent energy as royalty’ from the power projects being run by NHPC in the state for compensating the losses.

      NHPC is a stink bomb. From whatever angle you look at it, its colonial mindset and treacherous track record makes you shudder. Its Shylock mentality has sponged our state off its precious hydro resources. Frigid to our genuine demands and draped in arrogance its behavior is akin to that of a shrew, you want to distance yourself from.
      The treaty as we know has been brokered by World Bank in 1960 and made the two countries, agree on how to use and share the water resources of the Indus basin – that covers six rivers. The treaty gives India exclusive rights over the waters of three rivers Ravi, Beas and Satluj, while as Pakistan has exclusive rights over Jhelum, Chenab and Indus which first flow from state of J&K.

      The treaty restricts state from fully exploiting its water resources for power generations and irrigation that result in making state poor in development and industry.

      Listen to Radio Kashmir Srinagar, All India Radio, Doordarshan Srinagar and various Indian news channels. They keep shifting the blame from NHPC. The ‘mainstream’ leadership of Kashmir too adds flavor to this propaganda, though at times, more out of shyness than conviction, points a half-bent accusing finger at NHPC. (Baring of course, some honorable exceptions of some courageous souls like those of Taj-Mohidins).

      The State Finance Commission could not have missed the opportunity of joining in the chorus. In its recommendation beyond its brief, it has asked state to seek compensation for the losses incurred by it on account of IWT from not only from India but Pakistan as well. It is a mega development. For the first time an official body has recommended for seeking compensation from Pakistan.

      It is an acknowledged fact that a country having de-facto control of a disputed territory, like that of Kashmir, is under moral and legal obligation to protect the genuine interests of the people of that territory. It is New Delhi that agreed to the terms of the treaty. The “negatives”  in Kashmir it knew won her gains in having exclusive rights over three rivers Ravi, Satluj and Beas.

      The crux of the matter is that we are not the victims of the bad terms of the treaty, nor any country has usurped our rights. Even our being an independent nation we could not have exercised monopoly over the waters to the determinant of the genuine concerns of the country. There could not have been better a treaty than the one World Body has brokered between the two neighboring countries in terms of water sharing. For the last five decades number of power projects have been run by the NHPC and no one has raised any objection at all. It is only where – Kishan Ganga Bagliar and Tulbl for instance – it fears the projects have severe fall out on its economy, agriculture and ecology, alarm bells have been raised.

       NHPC has earned billions of rupees from the projects it ran in Kashmir. Under present conditions it is a drain on our economy. Exonerating themselves and shifting the blame to others won’t do. Pleading the case this way is a calculated move to camouflage the sinister designs of the Delhi controlled corporation. The state should pitch for another 25% royalty from NHPC (making it 50%) to compensate the losses state suffers from its brutal exploitation of water resources and Delhi’s agreeing to terms of the treaty.