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    Jammu KashmirIWT ‘harms’ JK interests

    IWT ‘harms’ JK interests


    IWT ‘harms' JK interests

    NL Correspondent

    SRINAGAR: While there is a war of words between and Pakistan over revival of Indus Water Treaty, people in and have been seeking amendments in the treaty, claiming it has caused a huge loss to the state over the years.

    In the aftermath of the Uri attack for which India has blamed the Pakistan, the centre has been considering to revive the IWT that was negotiated between the neighbouring countries in 1960. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly said that “water and blood can't flow at the same time”. There are many voices in India who want to scrap the treaty. Pakistan has approached the Bank amid reports that India could revoke the 56-year-old IWT.

    While in Jammu and Kashmir, it has always been the demand of the government and the people alike to make certain amendments in the IWT. They believe that state leadership was not taken into account before India and Pakistan signed the treaty as it has put curbs on the construction of storage reservoirs on rivers in J&K. The water level of rivers increases even by average downpour due to less carrying capacity of water bodies in the region as state lacks water storage reservoirs to resist floods.

    Experts believe that had the state built storage reservoirs on rivers in Jammu and Kashmir, the magnitude of the 2014 September floods would have been lesser as “they could have helped the state during the deluge”.

    “The capacity of retaining water in water bodies has reduced and was the main reason that almost entire Kashmir remained inundated under flood waters during 2014 September floods. We can't make the water storage on rivers due to IWT that could have helped the state during floods,” an official of irrigation and flood control department said.

    Professor Shakil Ramshoo, who teaches earth sciences at the Kashmir University, said the Valley's water bodies have lost the carrying capacity over the years resulting even a slight rainfall poses an imminent threat of flood.

    He stressed for dredging, de-silting and removal of encroachments along the water bodies for increase in carrying capacity.

    When asked whether it was possible for India to stop water from flowing into Pakistan, he replied, “J&K is a mountainous state and it has no dams to store the water. The state has no storage capacity nor water could  be diverted to other states as it requires canals to take water out of the state. The J&K will be flooded if water is stopped from flowing into Pakistan,” Romshoo said.

    He said people in J&K had always objected the IWT as it puts restrictions on construction of reservoirs on rivers that “could have helped during floods”.

    The IWT was signed by late Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and late Pakistan president Ayub Khan in September 1960.

    Under the treaty, India received exclusive rights of use of waters from the Indus and its eastward-flowing tributaries Ravi, Beas and Sutlej before they enter Pakistan, whereas Pakistan has rights to three large western rivers that first flow through J&K — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.

    Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said the state has suffered huge losses due to IWT which she believes benefits only India and Pakistan unlike J&K.

    Sham Lal Chowdhary, the J&K irrigation and flood control minister said there was a dire need for making amendments in the IWT to lift curb on construction of reservoirs on rivers in the state as signed in the treaty. “There is very less carrying capacity in rivers. We need to construct reservoirs on rivers for that IWT has to be amended,” he said.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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