Islamabad     -     A Parliamentary committee has recommended referring the issue of the construction of 25 MW hydropower project in Punjab on Chashma-Jehlum link canal to the Council of Common Interest (CCI) after the Sindh has strongly objected to the project.

In the meeting of the National Assembly standing committee on Water resource Sindh has strongly objected the issuance of NOC by IRSA to proposed 25 MW power project in Punjab on Chashma-Jehlum link canal and termed it violation of Water Accord 1991.

The Standing Committee on Water Resources met with Nawab Muhammad Yusuf Talpur, in chair. Members of the committee from PML(N) and Pakistan People Party have raised the issue of the non production of members committee Asif Ali Zardari and Khwaja Saad Rafiq. Yusuf Talpur said that why the production orders of the both the MNAs were not issued. Secretary of the Committee informed that they have written to the Speaker office in this regard. However the committee was informed that secretary committee can issue production orders. If Secretary of the committee has the authority to issue the production orders then why the speaker office was being asked, member from opposition questioned. Member of the Committee from PML(N) and PPP were unanimous to take the issue of the production orders to Supreme Court.  

While discussing the issuance of NOC by IRSA to propose 25 MW hydropower project in Khushab district on Chashma-Jehlum link canal to M/S C-J Hydro (Pvt.) Limited, the   Secretary Irrigation Sindh briefed the Committee that NOC was issued without the consultation of Sindh Government. He said that the NOC by IRSA is akin to terrorism. He further informed that such type of NOC in favour of Sindh was regretted by NEPRA in 2016. He requested to cancel the NOC as issued by IRSA in violation of Water Accord 1991. Sindh was of the view that Chashma-Jehlum link canal was constructed only for emergency water discharge however last year water was flowing for 45 days in the canal and during current year it was operational for 54 days. However official of Punjab irrigation department said that Punjab is flowing its share of water in the canal.

On the other hand, IRSA was of the view that Indus river system was apportioned through Water Accord 1991 and its para 14 (d) provide the freedom to the stakeholders to modify system-wise and period wise uses within their allocations so the NOC in question was issued accordingly under the IRSA Act. However, he suggested that aggrieved party has all right within the section 8(3) of IRSA Act to approach the Council of Common Interest (CCI) against the decision of IRSA. The Secretary M/o Water Resources informed the Committee that as the NOC was issued by IRSA under the IRSA Act, so the recommendation of the committee to cancel the NOC is not based on the facts.

The Committee unanimously suggested that the Council of Common Interest (CCI) may be called at the earliest to discuss the said issue and till such date the further processing of the project in question may be stopped as the Sindh Assembly has also passed the unanimous resolution on the disputed issue. The Committee also suggested that IRSA may consult the Govt of Sindh on the disputed matter of NOC.