CoA to visit Neelum, Jhelum hydropower projects in IHK


A delegation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA), The Hague will visit the hydropower projects on Neelum and Jhelum rivers and the surrounding areas on February 4 and 5. An official source said the Indian secretary for water resources will also accompany the CoA delegation, which will be assessing the environmental impacts of the decrease in water inflows in the Neelum River due to the construction of the Kishanganga hydroelectric project in the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). Later the delegation will also be visiting another under-construction project in the IHK. The CoA has already passed a unanimous order on Pakistan’s application for interim measures on the construction of Kishanganga hydropower project. The court barred India from constructing any permanent works on or above the Kishanganga riverbed at the Gurez site that may inhibit the restoration of the flow of the river to its natural channel. Renowned water expert Arshad H Abbasi believes that if the Kishanganga project is built according to the plan, water inflow in Neelum River will reduce significantly. He estimated that Pakistan would have to face an annual loss of $141 million due to reduced inflows in the two rivers. Abbasi is of the opinion that the environmental and financial costs will be too high for Pakistan, as India will channel the water of Kishanganga River to Wular Lake on Jhelum River, which will significantly increase the river’s flow.