India allows inspection of Chenab power projects


–Pakistani delegation headed by IWC Mehar Shah to leave on Jan 27 on four-day visit

–Team will inspect 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects 


LAHORE: Indian authorities have finally given green-signal to a Pakistani delegation to inspect the hydro-electric projects at River Chenab in India.

A delegation of water officials headed by Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Mehar Ali Shah will leave on January 27 for a four-day visit and will inspect 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnai hydro-electric projects on the River Chenab.

Indian officials have also expressed positive signs with regard to inspection by Pakistani officials about other projects on Chenab, according to reports.

A delegation of nine officials led by Indian Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena visited Pakistan in August last year for talks pertaining to water issues.

The water commissioners of the neighbouring countries are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to sites of projects and critical river headworks.

Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda hailed the development as a “major breakthrough”, saying a delegation led by Shah will visit the Indian hydropower projects at the Chenab Basin for an inspection between January 27 and February 1.

“It’s indeed a feather in [the] Ministry for Water Resources’ cap. We welcome this gesture from India and we expect the same spirit for resolution of other outstanding issues,” the minister said in a series of tweets.

Vawda observed that Pakistan and India have been engaged in the dispute relating to IWT “for ages”, but New Delhi had now agreed to schedule the visit of Pakistani experts “due to our continued efforts”.

India had originally agreed to allow Pakistani experts to inspect the aforementioned two projects during the 115th meeting of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters (PCIW) held between the two countries from August 29 to 30 in Lahore last year.

Besides agreeing to an inspection of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal projects, which was scheduled for September, India had also consented to a survey by Pakistani experts of the Kishanganga project at Jhelum basin at a later stage. Reciprocally, Pakistan had agreed to allow India to carry out inspection of Kotri Barrage over the Indus after September.

After initially scheduling the inspection of the projects at Chenab Basin by Pakistani experts from October 7 to 11, New Delhi had postponed the same on the pretext of local bodies’ elections in the respective areas.

After a reminder in November, Islamabad had on December 24 once again urged India through a letter to fulfill the commitment it made in August to schedule the hydropower projects’ inspection by Pakistani experts.