India has started constructing the new first-ever water dam on western rivers with an intention to violate the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) the sources told The News.
According to the sources, India has started building the dam to increase its water storage capacity on western rivers at the time when Pakistan face scarcity in water.
India wants to place spillway of 1,000 megawatts of Pakal Dul Dam on Chenab River in India-held Kashmir, which is roughly 15 meters down against the permissible limit, it will provide India with an undue leverage to holding 11,000 acres of water which is additional, to the allowed volume of water storage.
India wanted to construct storage capacity of 88,000 acre-feet on Chenab River by setting up Pakal Dul Dam, the sources said.
“Our objections are quite clear, we do not oppose water storage facility but rather Pakistan registered a complaint regarding unlawful and illegal dead storage”, an official said. Pakistan raised the issue with Indian Commissioner meeting in New Delhi and wants to take up this agenda in next meeting, Pakistan wants to sort out the issue as early as possible.
The dam’s height is another concern, the height of freeboard of dam allows greater storage capacity blocking water that flows to Pakistan. “We have asked India to lower it to the level allowed in Indus Water Treaty (IWT)”, the official said.
Pakistani officials made a visit to Pakal Dul Dam in 204 and a second visit would be made as soon as India is ready to do that, the official said.
According to the legal procedures, India is required to share the details of the project design six months ahead of the start of construction work. “We have raised concerns within the mentioned time of 3 months after receiving the project documents,” said the official.
The Indian Prime Minister inaugurated Pakal Dul Dam in May, the event was overlooked in Indian media, however, the launch of Kishanganga hydropower was given more prominence.
Pakal Dul Dam is being constructed on Marusudar river, the main branch of river Chenab in Kishtwar Tehsil of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir. The power project pushes the construction of 167-meter high concrete face rockfill dam and an underground powerhouse. The dam’s full reservoir level has been estimated at 1700 meters. The annual power generation from the project will be 3.387 billion units, the timeline for the project completion is 5 years.
Pakistan also has discussed the case with World Bank where the financial institution has favored India and asked Pakistan to accept a neutral expert in dam dispute. The World Bank is asking Pakistan to avoid taking the case to International Court of Arbitration (ICA).