By: SYED BASHARAT
SRINAGAR, Mar 20: The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) may be a buzzword in Jammu and Kashmir, but practically no state government has ever requested the central government to renegotiate this Treaty or assess losses and compensate the state accordingly, ever since it was inked.
This stunning revelation has come in a reply from Pawan Bansal, the union minister of water resources to a question posed by G N Ratanpuri, the Member Parliament (Rajya Sabha) on March 19. The copy of question and the reply is in possession of Kashmir Times.
In a supplementary question, Ratanpuri was told by the minister that Jammu and Kashmir gets its share of .65 Million Acre Feet (MAF) out of total water flow which is 135.6 (MAF).
Besides, the minister has informed the house that as per Jammu and Kashmir government, there are some areas in district Budgam, Anantnag, Kupwara, Pulwama and Bandipore that are without dependable irrigation facilities at present.
In a similar question on the same subject posed by Ratanpuri last year, the central government had said that it had no information about the quantum of losses suffered, notional and actual by Jammu and Kashmir consequent upon IWT.
Ratanpuri during his yesterday’s motion of thanks speech to presidential address in Rajya Sabha has said that the government of India bartered 135.6 MAF of water of Western rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir against 32.8 MAF water of Eastern Rivers flowing through Punjab.
“….The use of the waters of the Western rivers by India for the generation of hydro-electric power is unrestricted, but governed by the relevant provisions in the Treaty concerning the design, construction and operation of new hydroelectric plants. Agricultural use from the waters of the Western rivers upto about 13.43 lakh acres is permissible, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. The present use is about 8 lakh acres annually. Construction of storage upto 3.6 MAF as specified in the Treaty is permissible. No storage has been constructed so far,” reads the December 19, 2011 reply of the central government to Ratanpuri’s question on the subject.
Notably, a report prepared by International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo in collaboration with Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai, in March 2005 had said that Indus Water Treaty signed by India and Pakistan in 1960 has put Jammu and Kashmir behind by an estimated Rs 6,500 crore annually. The treaty has also badly hit the power generation and agriculture potential in the state, the report has added.
“The treaty which was carried out in the best interests of the nation has, however, deprived J&K of using its own water resources and thereby severely affected development in the state. The treaty made Punjab prosperous by using the water of the eastern rivers for agriculture and power generation. This, however, put J&K behind by an estimated Rs 6,500 crore. The losses are not there in the agriculture sector alone but on a much higher scale in the generation of hydropower which has an otherwise estimated potential of 20,000 MW,” reads the 2005, IWMI-Tata report.
Meanwhile, Ratanpuri during his yesterday’s speech has added that out of Prime Minister’s package of Rs 27,000 Crores announced in November 2004, Jammu and Kashmir till November, 2011 has received only Rs 7000 crores and less than 40 per cent had been expended by the government of India which was to be spent on generation of power in different power houses in the state.
Referring to various accords, agreements and interlocution over Kashmir issue, Ratanpuri during his address has said that time has come when the government of India should initiate a serious dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir for its final resolution.