IWT: Pak Waters Commissioner to visit JK by month-end
Srinagar, Jan 12: Indian Indus Waters Commission has invited its Pakistani counterpart to visit India for the inspection of projects on the Chenab basin under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
The delegation will be led by Pakistan Waters Commissioner to the state of J&K.
The visit will take place between January 27 and February 1, 2019. This tour was originally scheduled in October, 2018 but was postponed because of the elections of local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir.
Calling it a major “breakthrough” Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda tweeted on Friday, “Pakistan and India have been into Indus water treaty dispute for ages. Due to our continued efforts there’s a major breakthrough that India has finally agreed to our request for inspection of Indian projects in Chenab basin.”
Quoting sources, India Today said the tour will be confined to projects on Chenab ie; Ratle, Lower Kalnai and Pakaldul. Pakistan has been in the past requesting for inspection of Kishenganga which is on River Jhelum. For now, both sides have agreed to begin inspection on projects on the Chenab.
During the 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission held in Lahore, Pakistan from August 29-30, 2018, both the Commissioners agreed to undertake the Treaty mandated tours of Indus basin on both sides.
The tour was postponed because of local body elections held in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the administration could not afford to accord security to the visiting delegation.
During the last week of October in 2018 the Pakistani Indus water commissioner had telephoned his Indian counterpart, Pradeep Kumar Saxena, seeking dates for inspection and was informed that it wouldn’t be possible during the first or second week of December.
The Federal Minister of Pakistan asked his team to be prepared and called it a feather in the cap of his ministry.
“I’ve directed my team to visit and carry out inspection of projects from January 27-February 1. It’s indeed a feather in Ministry for water resources’ cap. We welcome this gesture from India and we expect the same spirit for resolution of other outstanding issues,” tweeted Vawda.
Under Article VIII of the Treaty, both the Commissioners are mandated to undertake, once in every five years, a general tour of inspection of the Rivers for ascertaining the facts connected with various developments and works on the Rivers on both sides.
So far, no tour could be held in the current five years block which ends in March, 2020.