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India plans to use Chenab to irrigate Jammu land

Water News: 

After endangering the Indus Water Treaty by carving out a plan to connect Chenab with Beas River, in yet another blow to country's water interests, India, has chalked out a strategy to use the remaining Pakistan' water in Chenab to irrigate the land of Jammu city.

To this effect, the water authorities in India have planned to construct the Rs990 million Naigad Canal in Kishtwar, reveal the official documents arranged from India with irrefutable evidence and exclusively available with The News (a local newspaper).

However, Pakistan's water authorities that have Minister of Water and Power Naveed Qamar, Special Assistant to PM on Water issues Kamal Majidullah and former water advisor Riaz A Khan, Wapda Chairman Shakeel Durrani and Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters (PCIW) seemed unmoved over the Indian plan to squeezing Chenab River with the aim to turn Punjab into barren land putting Pakistan's food security in danger zone.

This correspondent tried many times to make contact with Naveed Qamar, Kamal Majidullah and Sakeel Durrani, but their phones remained unattended.

'The News (a local newspaper)' published the story with the headline that India plans to link Chenab River with Beas on Tuesday (March 12, 2012), but no official clarification was issued.

India committed aggression in its water war after finding out that Pakistani authorities are not working to develop hydro generation and increase water storage capacity.

India has so far generated 12,700 MW of hydro electricity on Pakistan's rivers and out of which it alone developed its capacity to generate 7,898 MW of electricity on Chenab River. However, Pakistan has so far generated only 14 MW of electricity from Chenab River. Pakistan's storage capacity has fast dwindled to just 11.7 million acre feet of water whereas India has storage capacity of 400 MAF water.

In the international forum, India argues saying Pakistan wastes 30 to 35 MAF water every year and it has also failed to increase its water storage capacity, so New Delhi has a right to establish the hydropower projects on Pakistan's river and it is also allowed in the Indus Water Treaty.

This however is the fact that 30-35 MAF water goes to the sea every year as Pakistan has failed to build more dams on its rivers and the country has been exposed to water deficiency, meaning thereby that food security has been pushed into danger zone. But the authorities who are dealing with water sector still do not realize the gravity of the situation.

"This can be gauged by the fact that 600 MW Mahl hydropower plant could not be installed because of the apathy of the powers that could have sanctioned the project.

In 2008, when the government was finding it difficult to invite foreign investment to overcome the increasing energy shortfalls, an entrepreneur, Gardezi, requested Ministry of Water and Power (MOWP) for permission to start 600MW Mahl hydropower project, which was advertised by the Board of Investment (BOI) for private sector investment. The private entrepreneur Syed M Hussain Gardezi arranged 800 million dollars to generate and then sell electricity at just Rs4 per unit.

Unfortunately, all his efforts aimed at benefiting the nation and public at large through development of cheap, and environment-friendly electricity were foiled by the powers that be.

As a last resort, the investor said that he got published an appeal to the prime minister and the president of Pakistan for intervention to develop the Mahl hydropower project, on 27 of March 2010, on the front page in The News (a local newspaper) to invite their attention in this regard, but the authorities were in a mood to import 500MW from India. Thus we lost an opportunity to add cheap hydroelectricity to the national grid. Will someone call to question those responsible for this sorry state of affairs of aggravating energy crisis?