Home / News / India /  India plans 10 hydro plants to utilize water treaty with Pak
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NEW DELHI : India is working on building 10 hydropower projects totalling 6.8 gigawatts (GW) in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to fully utilize its share of waters under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan.

The projects being undertaken at an investment of 68,000 crore by state-run NHPC Ltd are part of India’s plan to exercise its rights to stop excess water from flowing into Pakistan.

These projects assume strategic importance against the backdrop of China developing the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, given that control over river water flow acts as a force multiplier during times of aggression.

India has adopted a similar approach on its eastern borders and plans to construct the country’s second-largest dam at Yingkiong in Arunachal Pradesh to counter China’s ambitious scheme to divert water from the river that feeds downstream into the Brahmaputra.

The projects being constructed by the public sector undertaking are the 1,000 MW Pakal Dul project, 850 MW Ratle project, 624 MW Kiru project and 540 MW Kwar project, all in Jammu and Kashmir, according to NHPC chairman and managing director Abhay Kumar Singh.

In addition, India’s largest power generation firm also plans to build 1,856 MW Sawalkot (J&K), 930 MW Kirthai-II (J&K), 500 MW Dugar (HP), 240 MW Uri-I Stage-II (J&K), and 260 MW Dulhasti Stage-II (J&K).

Mint earlier reported about the union government’s plan to expedite strategically important hydropower projects in J&K after the reorganization of the terror-hit state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. India is also working on a plan to divert the waters of Ujh, which is one of the main tributaries of the Ravi that flows into Pakistan.

“Pakistan keeps on objecting, but we have the Indus Waters Treaty. On the basis of the Indus Waters Treaty, we developed Kishanganga, Uri and others and on the basis of that treaty, we are developing these projects," Singh said.

According to the Indus Waters Treaty, whoever builds a project first will have the first rights on the river waters. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of six rivers—Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.

The move comes four years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated NHPC Ltd’s Kishanganga hydropower project to the nation. The 330 MW project on the river Kishanganga, a tributary of the Jhelum, has significant strategic importance. Pakistan had challenged the project under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, but the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled in India’s favour in 2013. Apart from Kishanganga, Pakistan had also raised objections to the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects on the Chenab.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last month cleared the construction of the 540MW Kwar project by Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corp. Ltd.

“The construction activities of the project will result in direct and indirect employment to around 2500 people and will contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the Union Territory of J&K. Further, UT of J&K will be benefitted with free power of around 4,548.59 crore and 4,941.46 crore with Water Usage Charges from Kwar Hydro Electric Project, during the project life cycle of 40 years," the power ministry said in a 27 April statement post the CCEA’s approval.

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