India moves forward on hydropower project on Chenab River

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ISLAMABAD: India is making rapid progress towards the ability to manipulate the water flows of Pakistan’s rivers as in a new development it has not only completed the civil works but also nearly completed the diversion tunnel for the hydropower project of Kiru of 624 MW, the new one being erected on the Chenab River, but the sad state of affairs is that the Pakistani Indus Water Commission (PCIW) has not yet visited the site, senior officials said. relevant officials to The News.

“Surprisingly, Pakistan and India are going to have talks at the Permanent Indus Water Commission in March, but the Kiru project is on the agenda. India has built many hydroelectric projects on Pakistani rivers and many are in the pipeline which will enable it to manipulate the inflow of water meant to reach Punjab.

The Punjab province is the food basket of our country and India will in future have the ability to manipulate the flows at a time when the planting season of all crops begins. The excavation, they said, for the power station and transformer hall has been completed by India. And the construction of all access roads from the dam site has been completed. “And the works of the diversion tunnel, the excavation of the main access tunnel and the auditing of the top and bottom of the pressure well are in progress and the stripping of the dam abutment is also in progress. However, the project is expected to be completed by 2023.”

“The project will have a dam with a height of 136 meters and a width of more than 190 meters. Indian engineers have almost completed the construction of the first diversion tunnel which is over 650 meters long with diameters of almost 9 meters. More importantly, the top and reverse concreting of the tunnel is almost complete. Under the SOPs, they said, between the two countries, it is essential to visit the project site before construction works, but in the case of the Kiru project, India has made substantial progress in keeping the Pakistani side in ignorance.

When contacted, a spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources confirmed that the Pakistan Indus Water Commission (PCIW) had not yet visited the Kiru project site. However, he said that in June 2020, India shared the design data and Pakistan raised objections to the design.

However, Arshad H Abbasi, a leading expert on Pak-India water issues associated with the SDPI, said he commends The News for uncovering such a factual story. “Although this is the job of our elite organizations, dealing with water security, now that the whole governance system is collapsing, only a few vigilant people like KM are still performing the national duty. It seems to me that after the launch of inland water transport on three western rivers, no one from Pakistan showed concern.

This means that now we have sold our rivers, water security, energy and food security too. Abbasi said Pakistan’s Indus Water Commission is run on an ad hoc basis as there has been no regular commissioner for a long time. The co-secretary for water, already in charge of ministry affairs, also works as acting commissioner. The Pakistan Indian Water Commission also needs to be updated and digitized and develop its vigilance system to keep tabs on Indian activities on Pakistan’s rivers.

The project is being developed on the Chenab River in the Kishtwar Tehsil of Doha District in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It will be complemented by the Chenab Valley Power Projects (CVPP), a joint venture between National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC, 49%), Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC, 49%) and Power Trading Corporation (PTC, 2 %). The Kiru hydroelectric project is under construction near the villages of Patharnakki and Kiru in Kishtwar, J&K. The exact location of the project site is approximately 1.5 km downstream and 0.5 km upstream at the point of convergence of the Chenab River with the Singad and Bela streams. And the location of the project is between Kirthai II (upstream) and Kwar (downstream) hydroelectric power stations on the Chenab River.

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