India reminded to let Pakistani experts inspect hydro projects


Pakistan has again reminded India to fulfil its commitment made in August 2018 of getting its two hydropower projects at the Chenab Basin — 48MW Lower Kalnal and 1,000MW Pakal Dul — inspected by the Pakistani experts.

“We have once again requested our counterpart, Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters, through a letter on December 24 to immediately schedule our experts’ tour to inspect 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal at Chenab Basin,” Pakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehr Ali Shah said, according to a local media report.

During last month, Islamabad had written a letter to New Delhi, reminding it of fulfilling its promise made during the 115th meeting of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters (PCIW) held between the two countries from Aug 29 to 30 in Lahore. In the meeting, India had not only agreed to allow Pakistani experts inspect the aforementioned two projects in September but also the Kishanganga project at Jhelum basin at a later stage. Reciprocally, Pakistan had also agreed to allow India to carry out an inspection of Kotri Barrage over the Indus after September.

“Since we are yet to receive a positive response from our counterpart, we are also planning to serve reminders to India in writing on every alternate day besides making phone calls on the hotline. And finally (If they don’t fulfil the promise) we may approach the World Bank under Article 9 of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) to press India to fulfil its commitment,” he added.

As a result of the 115th PCIW’s meeting, India had earlier scheduled an inspection of the projects at Chenab Basin by Pakistani experts from Oct 7 to 11. But later, it postponed the same on the pretext of local bodies’ elections in the respective areas.

During last week of October, the Pakistani commissioner telephoned his counterpart Pradeep Kumar Saxena and urged him to give a schedule for the tour of experts in November or December’s first week. However, Saxena was reported to have said it wouldn’t be possible during the first or second week of December due to local Panchayat elections in the state of India-held Kashmir — the area where these projects are located.