Early Times Report
Srinagar, Feb 16: In a major setback for Pakistan, the work on Tulbul navigation project or Wullar barrage is in full swing these days despite Islamabad's protests.
In the aftermath of the Uri attack by Pakistan-based militants, the Centre has been considering reviving the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly said that "water and blood can't flow at the same time".
The Wullar barrage has assumed significance, as 60 percent work on it has been completed, official sources said.
"Despite Pakistan objections to the construction of Wullar barrage, the government of India has refused to stop the work. We have been directed to complete the project at the earliest. It would take us less than one year to complete the project," an official said, wishing not to be named.
"The embankment of the Jhelum is almost completed and then work will be started on the gates."
India started work on this project in 1984, and according to the original plan, the barrage was expected to be of 439-feet long and 40-feet wide, and would have a maximum storage capacity of 0.30 million acres feet of water.
Work was stopped in 1987 following Pakistan's claim that it violated the W
rld Bank-brokered 1960 IWT. India has said the Wullar barrage was not in violation of the treaty and would be used to make the river navigable from Anantnag to Baramulla via Srinagar throughout the year.
@Setback for Pak#
"Despite Pakistan’s objections to the construction of Wullar barrage, the government of India has refused to stop the work. We have been directed to complete the project at the earliest. It would take us less than one year to complete the project," an official said, wishing not to be named.
Pakistan claims that Indian control over the Jhelum had the potential to disrupt its triple canal project - Upper Jhelum Canal, Upper Chenab Canal and Lower Bari Doab Canal. The construction site came under militant attack on August 28, 2012, as gunmen beat up workers and lobbed grenades at the site.
Various senior officials when contacted said the issue falls within the domain of Union Water Resources Ministry and refused to comment.
Meanwhile, Early Times has learnt that the Centre has asked the J&K government to explain the scope of enhanced power generation and irrigation from these rivers which flow into Pakistan through the state.
The IWT was signed by late Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru and late Pakistan president Ayub Khan in September 1960. Under the treaty, India received exclusive rights of use of waters from the Indus and its eastward-flowing tributaries Ravi, Beas and Sutlej before they enter Pakistan, whereas Pakistan has rights to three large western rivers that first flow through J&K - Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.