India, Pakistan to discuss Chenab water issue Oct 23

October 10th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) India and Pakistan will hold talks in New Delhi Oct 23 to discuss the issue of reduced water inflows in the Chenab river due to the construction of the Baglihar hydel project in Jammu and Kashmir, the first 450 MW phase of which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated Friday.A six-member Pakistani delegation, led by Water Commissioner Syed Jamat Ali Shah, would inspect the dam in Kashmir Oct 18-22 before the two-day talks in New Delhi.

Pakistan says it has faced water losses of over 0.2 million cusecs in the Chenab river due to the water storage in Baglihar Dam in violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, Pakistani newspaper Daily Times reported Friday.

Pakistan is planning to demand compensation for a massive loss of more than Rs.40 billion due to the water losses in the river, according to the daily.

Inaugurating the 450 MW Baglihar hydel project, Manmohan Singh underscored that Pakistan’s “justified concerns” have been taken care of while building the project, which is in accordance with the Indus treaty.

“We have taken care that justified concerns of our neighbours are taken care of and there are no complaints,” the prime minister stressed.

Pakistan also plans to approach the World Bank for arbitration if India did not address its concerns over the reduced the water flow in the Chenab.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had raised the Cehnab issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month.

Soon after the talks, India invited Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner to resolve issues relating to the Chenab water and assured Islamabad that it will abide by its commitments under the Indus treaty.

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