The Parched Tiger: India’s Dam Indus-trialization Program

Via Pakistan’s The News, a report that India has prepared a master plan to construct nine more large dams in Laddakh region in occupied Kashmir in addition to Nimoo-Bazgo and Chuttak hydropower projects on the Indus River. These 9 dams will generate 1055 MW of electricity.   As the article notes:

“…India is already set to complete the Nimoo-Bazgo and Chuttak hydropower projects. The two projects can store water up to 120,000,000 cubic meters. This means that in total India is to build 11 hydropower projects with large reservoirs on the Indus River in an attempt to make Pakistan a barren country.

According to a letter written to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani by Arshd H Abbasi, an expert on water and energy, India is to build: i) Ulitopp hydro electric project (HEP) with 132 feet dam height and capacity to generate of 85 MW of electricity; ii) 99 MW Khaltsi HEP with 66 feet dam height; iii) 70 MW of Dumkhar HEP with dam of 66 feet height; iv) 220MW Achinathang-Sanjak HEP with reservoir of 132 feet height; v) 295 MW Sunit HEP with dam of 66 feet height.

India will construct four projects on Drass-Suru river including i) 100 MW Parkachik-Panikher HEP with 198 feet high dam; ii) 100 MW Kirkit with 99 feet height; iii) 35 MW Drass-Suru HEP-I with 82 feet high reservoir; and iv) 60 MW Drass- Suru HEP – II with 66 feet high reservoir.

The letter disclosed that these projects have been offered to the private sector for which modalities are being worked out. This work by the Indian side has been initiated without due diligence on the project in the framework of the Indus Water Treaty (Illustrated in annex-D and annex-E of the treaty).

The letter also says that the work on 990 MW Kirthai Dam and 690-MW Ratle projects on the Chenab River in Kishtwar district of IHK started last year. It mentioned that unfortunately, neither the Ministry of Water Power (MoWP), nor the Ministry of Foreign affairs (MoFA) has taken up the case with the Government of India (GoI). It says the above-mentioned projects on Chenab and Indus are classified as run-of-river projects. However, it is pertinent to note here that if the treaty is not adhered to in letter and spirit, these projects will have serious consequences for downstream areas both individually and accumulatively.

“In a detailed meeting with Adviser MoWP and the then Additional Secretary MoWP in 2009, I elaborated the terms of the Treaty that explicitly bound both countries to exchange all information and data related to the proposed projects to be installed on the Indus River System in IHK under Article VI,” Mr Abbasi mentioned in the letter.

“Besides the parameters defined in the Indus Treaty, India and Pakistan are also bound to exchange such information/data under the obligation of the Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). According to the ICOLD, dams having height more than 15 meters are defined as Large Dams therefore all such dams are to be registered with the commission for dam safety. The judgment passed over Baglihar dam was based on the latest ICOLD bulletin of the Commission on large dams while deciding the design of the spillways. India has been planning to start more than 67dams for hydropower generation since long and all these dams fall under the category of large dams. Unfortunately, dam failure record of India has been worst, as nine of its dams have so far collapsed. The J& K area is earthquake-prone hence a minor failure can result into a catastrophe for the downstream areas. Therefore it is mandatory and important to set up dam safety measures in consultation with Government of Pakistan (GoP).”

The letter says: “Despite my repeated requests to the then Adviser MoWP, for the Environmental Impact Assessment Report of hydropower and other development projects being completed or to be executed within watershed of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus in IHK and Himachal Pradesh, no data or relevant information has been shared or provided to me till to date.”

The report holds immense importance as it quantifies trans-boundary impacts of such projects, in line with the verdict given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as in the case of Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam dispute between Slovakia and Hungary on the Danube River and paper mill decision between Argentina and Uruguay. In Baglihar Dam case, India in support of the dam’s design, annexed Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam decision in its counter memorial. Therefore, India is bound by law to share EIA of all hydropower projects with Pakistan before physical executions.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 16th, 2012 at 6:58 pm and is filed under India, Indus, Pakistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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