LAHORE: India started construction of the first-ever water reservoir Pakal Dul Dam on western rivers with an intention of increasing its holding capacity in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty, sources told The News.
The sources said India has gone ahead with a plan to develop its water storage capacity on the western rivers at a time when Pakistan is reeling under severe water shortage.
Officials confirmed that India wanted to place spillway of 1,000 megawatts of Pakal Dul Dam on Chenab River in Indian Kashmir, about 15 meters down against the permissible limit, which will give the country undue leverage of holding 11,000 acres of feet water in addition to allowed volume of water storage.
India wanted to establish water storage capacity of 88,000 acre feet on Chenab River with the setting up of Pakal Dul Dam.
“Our objections are very clear. We did not oppose water conservation facility within live storage rather Pakistan lodged complaint regarding use of unlawfully enhanced dead storage,” an official said. “We took up the issue of illegal construction of augmented storage capacity during March 29-30 meeting with Indian Commissioner in New Delhi.” The sources said the issue was proposed to be on the agenda of next meeting as Pakistan wanted to sort out the issues at the earliest.
Pakistan also raised objection on height of free board of dam, which will allow greater storage capacity. “We have asked India to lower it to the level allowed under the Indus Waters Treaty,” the official said.
In 2014, a Pakistan’s delegation visited the site of Pakal Dul Dam in 2014 and the second visit will be made “as soon as India asks us to do so,” an official remarked.
India is bound to share details of its project’s design six months before the start of construction on the river. “We have raised objections within stipulated time of three months of receiving documents of the projects,” the official said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of Pakal Dul Dam in May. The event was not highlighted in the Indian media and instead launching of Kishanganga hydropower was given prominence. Pakal Dul Dam is a reservoir-based scheme currently under construction on river Marusudar, the main right bank tributary of river Chenab in Kishtwar Tehsil of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir.
The power project envisages construction of a 167-metre high concrete face rockfill dam across river Marusudar and an underground powerhouse at. Its full reservoir level has been projected at 1,700 meters.