The Transport and Water Resources Minister of India, Nitin Gadkari on Thursday stated on social media that the government of India had decided to stop the share of water flow to Pakistan, the latest fallout of relations between the two after the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Lethpora area along the Srinagar-Jammu highway in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district which killed 49 CRPF personnel, was claimed by militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Sri @narendramodi ji, Our Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from Eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) February 21, 2019
Following the announcement, Dawn online reported that the secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Water Resources Khawaja Shumail had said that Pakistan had “neither concern nor objection if India diverts water of eastern rivers and supplies it to its people or uses it for other purposes, as the IWT allows it do so.”
Shumail said Pakistan did not see Gadkari’s tweet as worrisome in context with the IWT.
“Actually India wants to construct Shahpurkandi dam at the Ravi basin. This project is abandoned since 1995. Now they (India) want to construct this in a bid to use its own share of water that goes unutilised and finally flows to Pakistan. So if they want to use this whether through storing it through construction of this dam or any other way for their people, they can do as we have nothing to do with it,” he added, as per the Dawn report.
“But we will definitely express our concerns and raise objections strongly if they use or divert waters of western rivers (Chenab, Indus, Jhelum) on which our right to use prevails,” he was quoted as having said.
According to Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehr Ali Shah, as the IWT has already given a right to India in 1960 to use the water of eastern rivers it is now up to it to do so or not. “Whether they diverted and used their unutilised share of eastern rivers’ waters in 1960, we had no problem. They want to do it now, we have no problem. And if they don’t want to use this, we have no issue,” Shah said, according to the report.
He said, as per the report, the planned Shahpurkandi dam was actually the stage-2 of the Ranjit Sagar dam. “Though this project will also generate power, it will be used for irrigation purposes,” he added.
He spoke about the proposed visit of Indian experts (India’s commissioner for Indus waters) to Kotri Barrage (Sindh, Pakistan) keeping in view the tension between the two countries after the Pulwama attack, saying: “Let’s see what happens in this regard. But we hope for the best.”
Three days before the Pulwama attack, India shared with Pakistan the design data of its three planned run-of-the-river hydropower schemes with Pakistan under the IWT.
These included Balti Kalan, Kalaroos and Tamasha hydropower projects which are planned to be constructed at Balti Kalan Nullah and Kalaroos Nullah at the Jhelum basin and Tamasha, a sub-tributary of the Indus river, respectively.
(With inputs from Dawn)