Building Bhasha, Kurram Tangi, Munda, Dasu, Kohala, Golen Gol and Bunji dams
There is a dispute on the water coming from Kashmir. Under the Indus Water Treaty, the neutral experts role is to interpret the clauses of the treaty and decide if any party is violating it. That certainly does not delegate any authority to the neutral expert to nullify or inactivate any clause under the disguise of declaring it irrelevant. All the clauses in the treaty are as relevant today in the overall framework defined by the treaty as they were more than 50 years ago
THE IMPACT of 1947 today: The Radcliffs Award of Ferozepur and Gurdaspur foretold the hidden scheme for Kashmir. There is new light on the subject shed by the 1971 interview of Lord Radcliffe with Kuldip Nayyar, and the unbiased study of Lucy Chester.
Many say that there will be many wars around water. Some may have already started. The Kalabagh Dam in intricately linked to the distribution of water between India and Pakistan.
Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of departure of the British in 1947. India not only treacherously occupied two-third of Kashmir by force but also failed to implement the 1948 UNSC Resolution of holding a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the people of Kashmir whether they wanted to be part of Pakistan or India.
The controversial Baglihar Dam started in 1999 on River Chenab in Doda of India Held Kashmir (IHK). Pakistan took the case to the World Bank. The Bank expert Raymond Lafitte approved the project in February 2007 but asked India to reduce height of the Dam by one and half meters. Baglihar Dam can block 7000 cusecs of water per day whenever India wishes to.
India has already built 14 hydroelectric plants on Chenab River and is building more plants which will enable it to block entire water of Chenab for 20-25 days. These dams have also enabled India to release huge quantity of water downstream to not only cause damage to standing crops but also to our canal systems.
Chenab River provides water to 21 canals and irrigates about 7 million acres of agriculture land in Punjab.
Storage of water in Baglihar Dam reduced the flow of water in Chenab River during the sowing period of August to October 2008 and badly affected the agriculture sector of Pakistan. Pakistan lost 23000 cusecs of water; farmers could not irrigate their fields due to shortage of water and resultantly 3.5 million agriculture tracts got barren. The standing cotton, paddy crops of basmati rice of Kharif season in Punjab which were ripe got badly affected because of absence of water.
The Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) just came out of its hibernation. It has published a report to assist Pakistan. There was unanimity among the member countries, lenders and stakeholders in Pakistan on the need for major dams and top priority for Bhasha dam. The FoDP has prioritized hydropower projects worth $28.2 billion. These projects have been prioritised and will be completed by 2020. It has decided to follow the guidelines and safeguards set by the Asian Development Bank for providing funds and technical assistance.
The K-P and G-B governments are disputing over the ownership of an 18-kilometre-long belt, in a bid to receive a share in income from power generation.
The Chinese, Company Three Gorges, has announced to invest in two hydro power projects in Pakistan, a private TV channel has recently reported. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has met with Chairman of Three Gorges Corporation, Cao Guangjing. After the meeting, Cao Guangjing while giving a briefing to media he said that his company Three Gorges has agreed to invest more than ($ 10 billion) in two hydro power projects in Pakistan. For this purpose at the point of Bunji in Gilgit Baltistan, a dam of 7,000 MW, whereas 12, 00 MW dam at Kohalla will be constructed. Zardari s visit aims at strengthening strategic partnership will also promote economic and trade cooperation and enhance cultural ties between the two countries.Ltd. Hydroworld
The FoDP does leave it up to the politicians “It is Pakistans political and policy leaders who will have to decide the course of action” – whether to have a binding commitment from provinces and the lending agencies or follow the normal decision process of five-year plans, annual budgets and partnership strategies with lenders about a roadmap.
There is a dispute on the water coming from Kashmir. Under the Indus Water Treaty, the neutral experts role is to interpret the clauses of the treaty and decide if any party is violating it. That certainly does not delegate any authority to the neutral expert to nullify or inactivate any clause under the disguise of declaring it irrelevant. All the clauses in the treaty are as relevant today in the overall framework defined by the treaty as they were more than fifty years ago.
The fact that any dam loses its water-storing capacity over the time is not a new or unexpected phenomenon that was unknown or could not be conceived of at the time signing the treaty by Pakistan and India. Therefore, allowing India to construct the extra spillways and increase the height of the dam was clearly out of his jurisdiction and authority. That shows the neutral experts inner bias and prejudice against the people of Pakistan. Many in Pakistan were indeed surprised by the silly and biased statements of this not-so neutral expert when he praised the Indians and called their dam a beautiful project before and during the hearings, i.e. much before his deceitful decision.
The FoDP describes the facts that “Pakistan has one of the largest, complex and integrated water system but despite greater issues its policy leaders were flying almost blind despite an ominous threat from snow and glacial melt on the Indus system arising out of climate change.
The FoDP task force puts $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan as priority number one for implementation after unanimity of views among all domestic stakeholders and bilateral and multilateral lenders.
Second on the list are six major projects with total cost of $14 billion – Kurram Tangi, Munda, Dasu, Kohala, Golen Gol and Bunji, to be developed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The controversial Kalabagh dam has been dropped from the priority list, even though the multilateral lenders had strongly recommended its construction.
The Task Forces report is pragmatic and down to earth. It comprehends the difficulties in taking major political decisions in an election year. The Task Force has also called for provincial strategies for the next governments but advised the lending agencies to include these projects in the programmes already in the pipeline.
The task force has noted opposition from the Federal Flood Commission to putting responsibility of inspection of existing infrastructure and embankments on Wapda and left the issue for the government to decide.
The lenders have endorsed Punjabs move to put in place an Asset Management Plan for embankments and to develop a financial method for maintenance of major embankments. Provinces believed FFCs inspection of embankments was not up to the mark.
The Malakand Tunnel is being built with Korean help.
Korea has pledged $78 million Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) financing for construction of Malakand tunnel project on the request of Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan, officials have revealed.
The total length of the tunnel is 9.7 km including approach roads on both sides and three bridges.
The initial feasibility study of the tunnel has already been completed by Korean consultants in collaboration with National Highways Authority, Pakistan.
The tunnel will provide a short route not only to people of Dir, Malakand and Swat etc but also an easy road-access to other regional economies particularly Central Asian States, providing Pakistan market access for its products.
The loan will be administrated by Exim Bank of Korea, having nominal interest rate of 0.1 percent per annum with maturity period of 40 years including a grace period of 10 years.
Korea considers Pakistan as a very important strategic partner. Therefore, government of Korea pledged S$200 million Official Development Assistance (ODA) at FoDP Donors Conference in Tokyo in April, 2009.
The task force notes “serious, cumulative problems of neglect of maintenance of major embankments by the provinces”.
It was agreed that good institutional, social and environmental policies were needed to attract external investment.
The task force did not agree to follow recommendations of the World Commission of Dams and decided to follow safeguard requirements of the ADB.
Despite insistence by some provinces that existing revenue sharing from large dams was sacrosanct, the task force said it would continue to advocate that Pakistan should adopt good global practices involving a formula of royalty sharing among affected provinces and local people and move away from the Tarbela-like arrangement that transfers maximum benefits to the province where the power house is located without giving project benefits to locally displaced communities.
The FODP force agreed that the 1991 accord was a great asset for water sharing among the provinces but urged to put in place an institutional framework that reduced current large political elements in its implementation and for better predictions for rabi and kharif seasons and transparent measurement of flows and losses to end mistrust.
The report notes strong agreement for improved on-farm water management (OFWM), the need for new infrastructure on canal storage and control structure.
Likewise, a strong commitment has emerged for small and medium dams which should be developed by provinces but in integrated command area projects using modern technologies.
For this, all provinces have agreed to the objective of full cost recovery from users.
For better agricultural productivity, the stakeholders have also agreed to a $315million assistance for OFWM, $140 million for small dams, $100 million for spate irrigation and $500 million for improved management of main canals.
The stakeholders have agreed to put in place new operating rules for major future dams and projects – moving away from agriculture as top priority to power and flood control whose benefits are larger than agriculture.
The FoDP agreed to provide $500 million for a flood management programme to be completed by 2016.
Discussing the Indus Water Treaty: The next most serious choke was applied through the Indus Water Treaty (1960): Pakistan lost three Eastern Rivers. The World Bank solution violated the International Law which does not allow change of direction and the flow of the rivers anywhere in the world. River Ravi passing through Lahore was given to India. Subsequently Pakistan saw with open eyes India building dams and powerhouses on the three Western Rivers which were designed “for exclusive use of Pakistan.” The Indian Minister
for Power and Water, Chakravarty, said openly in a formal meeting of the IWT council held at Delhi: “When we abrogate IWT, Pakistan will be in a state of draught and Pakistanis will cry for drops of water” (June 14, 2002).
The COAS of the Indian Army also said, “The rejection of Kalabagh Dam by elements in Pakistan enhances the insecurity of Pakistan. Salal Dam was completed without our knowledge” (2003).
Pakistani authorities raised a mild objection on Baglihar Dam (2005) when it was nearing its completion. The World Bank mediator finally advised lowering of the dam by 2-ft. India had its way towards the final thrust to kill Pakistan.
The ground-breaking ceremony (February 9, 2008) of Kishanganga-Jhelum Hydel Project – vision 2030 – located at Muzffarabad, was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr Islamabad: India has challenged it. India is quite used to imposing its will on Pakistan.
We must have known that Kalabagh and Bhasha dams and other projects are the water-management schemes of local resources: they are not the replacement of the three Western Rivers being controlled by India. Why there was no challenge offered to the enemy? Even the governments were inclined to concede the rights to India to build Wullar-Barrage: the source of Mangla Dam which can be turned into 110 sq mile of sandy-patch. The groundwork of Wullar Barrage was destroyed by the mujahideen on April 7, 1990. Between 1947 and now who is or was responsible for the security of Pakistan and its water resources?
The FoDP report notes major issues with bulk water transmission in Karachi, unsustainable groundwater use in Quetta posing an existential threat and deplores “no indication of willingness to address these challenges”.
It has also found broad agreement that the present institutional model is broken, most obviously financially as no utilities have operating ratio greater than 50 per cent, creating problems in meeting water needs in growing city peripheries and choking sewerage and sanitation services. It says the first step to address these issues will be for the political leadership to spend political capital for financial sustainability.
The Task Force says the FoDP should stay away from reforming city institutions unless there is a strong political commitment and then consider financing transition costs for getting to financial sustainability.