Pak officials inspects Pakal Dul site in Kishtwar

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NEW DELHI: A delegation of Pakistani officials arrived here on Sunday to attend a general tour of inspection of India’s hydroelectric projects on Chenab River, under the Permanent Indus Commission, which is slated to take place between January 28 to 31.

Pakistan’s Indus Commissioner, Syed Mohammad Mehar Ali Shah and Indian Indus Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena, along with their respective advisers will undertake this tour in Chenab basin of Jammu and Kashmir.

This tour is an obligation imposed on both the countries by the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 between India and Pakistan. Under the Treaty, both the Commissioners are mandated to inspect sites and works on both the sides of Indus basin in a block of five years.

Since the signing of the Treaty, a total of 118 such tours on both sides have been undertaken by the Commission. The last tours of the Commission in Pakistan and India were held in July 2013 and September 2014 respectively. So far, no tour could be held in the current five years block which ends in March 2020.

This tour, where the Pakistani officials will be inspecting the Lower Kulnai and Pakal Dal projects, will be followed by the tour of Indian Indus Commissioner to Pakistan, at a mutually convenient date decided between the two Commissioners.

This tour was originally scheduled in October 2018 but was postponed because of elections of local bodies and Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir.

In the previous round of talks, which took place in August, last year when the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, both sides failed to achieve any progress over the river water dispute.

During the talks, Pakistan had expressed reservations over construction of the 1,000-MW Pakal Dul and 48-MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects on two different tributaries of River Chenab by India.

The Indian side led by its water commissioner P.K. Saxena agreed that all issues between the two countries would be resolved under the Indus Water Treaty. New Delhi later invited the Pakistani side to visit and inspect the two hydro-electric projects. (ANI)