Islamabad - Pakistan yesterday announced moving the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) against India over construction of controversial 850MW Ratle Hydroelectric Plant (RHEP) and 330MW Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (KHEP) in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

“Talks for 2.5 years with India on resolution of Pakistan’s objections regarding Kishanganga and Ratle Hydroelectric Plants (HEPs) failed and Pakistan with the consent of stakeholders decided to take it to full court of arbitration,” Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said in his tweet.

“Indian government invited Pakistan side to discuss points of dispute under Indus Water Treaty,” he said, adding that Water and Power secretary heading and eight-member delegation was in India for two days (July 14-15).

The decision was taken after the talks between the two sides failed in reaching any conclusion over last two years, the ministry confirmed.

The high level delegation comprising senior officials of Water and Power ministry and other departments visiting India communicated back that Indian side was inflexible in settling the issue with mutual consensus and talks with Indian water commission have failed.

Pakistan has serious reservation over the design of these projects and considers it gross violation of the Indus Water Treaty-1960 signed between both the countries more than 50 years ago. Beside other objections, Islamabad has objection on the depth of spillways of the Kishanganga dam.

It is a matter of life and death for Pakistan as constructing water reservoirs by India will have dire consequences for the economy and food security of around 200 million Pakistanis.

India is also building three other controversial projects on River Chenab in Held Kashmir which include 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 120MW Miyar and 48MW Lower Kalnai hydropower projects. The designs of these projects too are controversial and it will also require the interference of international arbitration.

Construction work on Kishanganga project was started in 2007 and has now been completed. Work on Ratle Hydropower project is also in progress.

In 2010, Islamabad appealed to Hague-based arbitration court. The court in its final verdict on Dec 20, 2013 allowed India to go with construction and ruled that it can divert water for power generation with the condition that it will ensure minimum environmental flow of nine cubic meters per second in the river in winter. India is violating the terms specified in the court verdict and now Pakistan is going to appeal to the court again.

Under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, the waters of the eastern rivers, Sutlej, Beas and Ravi, had been allocated to India and the western rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, to Pakistan except for certain uses allowed to India which included generation of hydropower but without altering the water flow.

India has plans to build more than 30,000MWs electric generation projects on Pakistani rivers, which according to experts will definitely affect the water flow to the Pakistani soil, especially from Chenab River that irrigates almost half of Punjab.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 16-Jul-2016 here.