What is Indus Waters Treaty?
The Indus system comprises of main Indus River, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.
Under the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of three rivers, namely Ravi, Sutlej and Beas (Eastern Rivers) averaging around 33 million acre feet (MAF) were allocated to India for exclusive use. The waters of Western rivers – Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab averaging to around 135 MAF were allocated to Pakistan except for specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India as provided in the Treaty.
India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run of the river (RoR) projects on the Western Rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation is unrestricted.
PRESENT STATUS OF DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
To utilize the waters of the Eastern rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use, India has constructed Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, Indira Gandhi Nahar Project etc has helped India utilize nearly entire share (95 %) of waters of Eastern rivers.However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilized to Pakistan below Madhopur. To stop the flow of these waters that belong to India for its utilization in India, following steps have been taken:
1. Resumption of Construction of Shahpurkandi project: This project will help in utilizing the waters coming out from powerhouse of Thein dam to irrigate 37000 hectares of land in J&K and Punjab and generate 206 MW of power. The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2016. However, following a dispute between the state of J&K and Punjab, the work on the project had been suspended since 30.08.2014. Consequent upon agreement reached on 8 September 2018 between J&K and Punjab . The cost of the project is . 2715.70 Crore. Government of India vide order dated 19 December 2018 has approved the Central Assistance of Rs. 485.38 crore towards balance cost of works of irrigated component of the project. The construction work has now resumed by Govt of Punjab under monitoring of Govt of India.
2. Construction of Ujh multipurpose project: This project will create a storage of about 781 million cu m of water on river Ujh , a tributary of Ravi for irrigation and power generation in India itselfand provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 ha in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba district of J&K apart from providing water for the district Kathua of J&K. The DPR of the project has beentechnically approved for the total estimated cost of Rs.5850 crore (July, 2017) . This project is a National Project and the Central Assistance of Rs. 4892.47 crore on works portion of irrigation component as well as the special grant is under consideration. The implementation of the project will be 6 years from beginning of the implementation.
3. The 2nd Ravi Beas link below Ujh: This project is being planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through river Ravi, even after construction of Thein Dam, by constructing a barrage across river Ravi for diverting water through a tunnel link to Beas basin. The project is expected to utilize about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujhdam by diverting the same to Beas basin for benefits of other co-basin states. Govt. of India declared this project as National Project.
The above three projects will help India to utilize its entire share of waters given under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960.
(Adapted from PIB)