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Kishenganga: India’s right upheld
Arbitration court rejects Pakistan objection to diversion of water for power by India in J-K
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
The International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has upheld India’s right to divert water from the Kishenganga river for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir.

In its final award announced at The Hague last evening, the seven-member court, headed by Stephen M Schwebel, unanimously decided that India must also release a minimum of 9 cumecs of water into the Kishenganga river below the Kishenganga Hydro Electric Project (KHEP) at all times to maintain the environment downstream.

“This is much lower than the 100 cumecs of natural flow of water that Pakistan wanted to maintain,” MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin noted when asked for his reaction to the final award.

But Islamabad also interpreted the court verdict as a victory. “The ICA has accepted Pakistan’s right to the water as a riparian state...the decision will safeguard our water rights,” Pakistan Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif was quoted as saying.

“At any time at which the daily average flow in the Kishenganga river immediately upstream of the KHEP is less than 9 cumecs, India shall release 100 per cent of the daily average flow immediately upstream of the KHEP into the Kishenganga river below the KHEP,” the court said.

The final award imposes no further restrictions on the operation of the KHEP, which remains subject to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.

The court also ruled that India or Pakistan could seek reconsideration of its decision after a period of seven years from the first diversion of water.

The Indian spokesman pointed out that the court, in its partial award delivered in February, had already upheld New Delhi’s main contention that it has the right to divert waters of the western rivers, in a non-consumptive manner, for the optimal generation of power.

“We have received the final award and the court’s decision on India’s request for clarification last night. These are technical documents that are being studied in detail by experts,” he added.

The KHEP is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from Kishenganga to a power plant in the Jhelum river basin.

The construction of the project began in 2007 and is expected to be completed by 2016.

The construction of the dam was halted by the ICA in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of Kishenganga.


May 17, 2010: Pak moved for arbitration against India under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960

June 2011: The Court of Arbitration conducted a site visit

Feb 2012: A court delegation carried out a second site visit

Aug 20-31, 2012: The arbitration court held a 2-week hearing

Feb 18, 2013: Partial award issued

Dec 20, 2013: Final award upholds India’s right to divert water

Pak stand

Pakistan has claimed that the Kishenganga project would rob it of 15 per cent of its share of river waters. It also accused India of trying to divert the river water to harm Pakistan's Neelum-Jhelum hydel project.





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