ISLAMABAD: With the Kishenganga debacle in The Hague court, Pakistan is to brave loss of $145 million every year for the power lost in Neelum-Jhelum (N-J) project following massive reduction in water flows.
More significantly, in drought conditions, as faced in 2001, Pakistan will face a loss of more than $544 million every year, Wapda officials told The News. This will be a huge loss to Pakistan’s strategic project’s financial viability, they said but did not dare to offer more comments on the development.
However, they said that a thorough probe should be initiated against Pakistan’s team of legal and technical experts that failed to plead the case in an effective manner of the low riparian country.
“And on top of it, a more shocking development is that India plans to construct 10 more hydropower projects upstream Wullar lake that would inflict more damage to Pakistan’s water interests,” they confided to The News.
When contacted, eminent water and energy expert Arshad H Abbasi, presently associated as an adviser with SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute), said the decision by the international court was a disaster for Pakistan not only for electricity generation capacity of the Neelum-Jheulm project but also for the ecology of the beautiful Neelum Valley.
Mr Abbasi, who has also been the part of track-2 diplomacy with India on water issues came down heavily on Pakistan’s legal team and experts arguing that Article 90 of decision of the Hague court speaks a lot about ineptness of Pakistan’s team that clearly says: “Pakistan has submitted no data on current or anticipated agricultural uses of water from the Kishenganga/Neelum. Pakistan has, however, stated that future development in the Neelum Valley will be contingent on the increased use of lift irrigation from the river and on a move away from subsistence agriculture. The parties disagree as to whether such potential future uses are relevant to the determination of the minimum flow.”
He said this is enough evidence to initiate a probe against the Pakistani team and put their names in the ECL.In case they are proven guilty, then a high treason case should be filed against them as they have compromised the vital water interests of the country.
To a question, he said Pakistan receives 2.4 million acre feet of water every year if the average releases of water in last 30 years are kept in view. With diversion of water by India, Pakistan will be deprived of 45 percent of 2.45MAF water and in drought years, the country will be deprived of 90% of 2.4MAF.
Pakistan is going to complete by December 2015 the Rs278 billion Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project in AJK on the Neelum River with the capacity to generate 969MW of electricity.
This means that the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project is to produce 5,178 million units of electricity annually, but the diversion of water will negatively impact the flow of 58.4 cubic metres per second if India continues to undertake the Kishenganga hydropower project.
The Kishenganga River is called the Neelum River in Pakistan, and a river that was named for its deep blue waters, will have significantly reduced water flows.Mr Abbasi said the Pakistani counsel and team seemed to be jubilant over the decision, and the former Adviser to the Prime Minister on Water and Agriculture Resources, Kamal Majeedullah, and Pakistan’s agent in Kishenganga case has been quoted as saying that the decision ruled “overwhelmingly in Pakistan’s favour.”
The newly elected government has also fallen into the trap of the same team, which had spoiled the whole case, he said.Abbasi apprehended stating the untruth that Pakistan had won the case, perhaps the legal team was trying to save face. “But the facts are incontrovertible according to which the court ruled in favour of India.”
When contacted, former Wapda chairman and well know water expert Shamsul Mulk said that he had not yet gone through the detailed verdict of the Hague court, but he will be able to speak on the subject after two days.However, he said that now time has come to speak the truth with the nation and the government should not hide the facts.