ISLAMABAD - The secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India for resolving two controversial hydropower projects, including  Kishanganga hydro electric project and Ratle hydro electric project, in Washington have been delayed and will now be held by end of current month.

Earlier, the talks were scheduled for April 11-13 but now it is likely to be held in the last week of April, official sources told The Nation here Wednesday.

Last month, Federal Minister for Power and Water Khawaja Asif had told newsmen that after the US intervention, the secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India for resolving two controversial hydropower projects, including Kishanganga hydro electric project(330MWs) and under-construction Ratle hydro electric project(850 MWs) in occupied Jammu and Kashmir will be held in Washington next month. “The US has intervened and decided to help both the countries in resolving the issue. There will be secretary-level talks on the Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower projects between both the countries in Washington on April 11-13 2017,” the minister had said.

When contacted, Commissioner Indus Water Treaty Asif Baig said that they have submitted their response to the World Bank and now they will contact India regarding their response. When asked why the meeting was postponed, he said, April 11-13 was not the scheduled date for the meeting as it was just the proposed dates. He said that the World Bank with the consensus of both countries will provide fresh dates of the meeting. He said that he does not know about the new dates.

Pakistan has serious reservation over the designs of both projects and believes that these projects would concede India to impede the water flow to the country.  

About the controversial Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects, Pakistan is seeking International Court of Arbitration (ICA) through the World Bank while India insists to resolve the issue through neutral experts. Under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), New Delhi has to share all the details of any hydropower project on the rivers on which Pakistan has water rights under the IWT with Islamabad. However, no design of these projects has been shared with Pakistan which is violation of the treaty.

The proposed Kishenganga Hydroelectric project is located in occupied Jammu and Kashmir on river Neelum. The design envisages the construction of 180.5 meter long and 35.48 meter high concrete dam. The full pondage capacity is 18.35 MCM(0.0061MAF).

As per the official documents, the detailed information about Run-of-River project was received from India on June 25 2006. Pakistan raised objections under the provisions of Indus Water Treaty 1960 and were sent to India on August 2006. Mainly, Pakistan has objections on pondage, sediment outlet, type of spillway and placement of power intakes.

 

For example, India proposed pondage is 6120 acre feet (7.55 Mm3) while Pakistan has proposed 811 acre feet(1.0 Million Cubic metre Mm3). Similarly, India has proposed Orifice Spillway with Crest placed 20m (65.6 ft) below normal pool however Pakistan raised objections over the structure and instead proposed surface gated spillway with crest level 10 m(64.0 ft) below normal pool level at 2380 m.

Regarding Intake Crest Elevation, India proposed 2378.8 m amsl1 and Pakistan rejected the same proposed surface intake with crest at2382.8 m amsl i.e. crest is to be raised by 4 m (13.1 ft).

Similarly, there is also disagreement over capacity above spillway crest or controllable storage. India proposed it should be 14,836 acre feet (18.3Mm3) however Pakistan proposed 11,000 acre feet (13.5 Mm3).  

Similarly, Ratle Hydro Power project is located on the main Chenab river about 55 Km upstream of 900MW Baglihar Hydropower project. It has the installed capacity of 850 MW. It has a concrete gravity dam with height of 111m, Gross capacity of the reservoir is 78.71 Mm3 (Million Cubic Meters) or 64000 acre feet. The capacity of the operating pool (pondage) is 23.86 Mm3 or 19300 acre feet. It has an orifice spillway with five gates of 10.75 m (width) and 14.2 m(height); the spillway crest has an elevation of 985.0 m amsl with storage above spillway crest of 61.2 Mm3 or 50000 acre feet.

According the official documents, the design of the project was received from India on August 29, 2012 and Pakistan has communicated its objection on November 26, 2012. Pakistan has objected to the design of the Ratle project as it believes the Indian design of the project would reduce Chenab flows by 40 per cent at Head Marala.

Pakistan has objections to Ratle’s Freeboad, Pondage, Spillway and Intake crest elevation. India has proposed Freeboard of 2 meter however Pakistan has raised objections and said that it should be one metre , India proposed pondage of 19300 acre feet (23.8 million cubic metre) but Pakistan wants it should be a maximum of eight million cubic metres. India has proposed Orifice Spillway with Crest placed 44 M (144.4 ft) below normal pool level but Pakistan proposed Surface gated spillway with crest level 19.5 m(64.0ft) below normal pool level. Similarly, Pakistan proposed that intake level should be at 8.8 metre.