Why Pakistan cannot destroy the project?
The biggest defence, said the officials, is that any act to destroy the dam would actually pose the greatest danger to Pakistan — the maximum impact would be felt downstream, across the LoC, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. As the Kishanganga flows, the LoC is only about 10 km from the dam, and habitation begins almost immediately. The first village in PoK, along the banks of the Neelum, as the river is known across the LoC, is Tawbal. Of the 27 villages in Gurez, only six are located downstream along the banks of the Kishanganga, and all have been shifted uphill due to the dam. However, even assuming that the dam is targeted, shelling from across the LoC does not pose a real danger, officials said.

Why dam is safe from Pakistan shelling?
The dam is located in a gorge and is not in the direct line of fire. In the event that a shell does hit it, the dam, one official said, “is a heavy structure, and can withstand shelling”.

What is the major concern?
A more serious concern is sabotage by an individual or groups, said the official. But that too would pose the same dangers of flooding downstream. The river is wide enough to cause flooding at a discharge of about 2,000 cumec (cubic metres per second). The Kishanganga dam has a pondage of about 7 million cubic metres, but how this will translate into water flow will depend on the extent of damage to the dam, and consequently, the time it would take for it to flow out.

The people who live in the villages near the dam site are also thought of as another layer of security. In Kashmir, the people of Gurez are considered pro-India. Many are directly or indirectly employed by the Army.

As for the other parts of the project, the tunnel is bored deep in the mountains, and transports the water of the Kishanganga to an underground power station in Bandipora in the Kashmir Valley. Officials say that these portions of the dam are inaccessible and would be difficult if not outright impossible to target.

(Adapted from The Indian Express)