PM Modi Inaugurates Hydro Project In Kashmir; Will Provide 13% Free Power To J&K

The Logical Indian Crew

May 21st, 2018

Image Credits: Desh Gujarat

Prime Minister Modi inaugurated a hydroelectric power plant in Kashmir on Saturday. The work on Kishanganga hydropower station started in 2009. It is a 330-megawatt project that India has fast-tracked in the volatile state amidst the bitter ties between the nuclear-armed countries. The project will provide 13% free power to the state and will include 1% for local area development fund, amounting to Rs 133 crore per year, as reported by Livemint.

The project involves the diversion of Kishanganga River into an underground powerhouse near Bandipur, which discharges the water into the Wular Lake. Also, a 37-metre high dam was built in Gurez valley of Bandipora. The projects’ total cost is approximately Rs 5,882 crore.

PM Modi in Srinagar said, “This region can not only become self-sufficient in power but also produce for other regions of the country,” Adding, “Keeping that in mind we have been working on various projects here in the past four years”, The Economic Times reported.

These projects have faced protests across the border, citing grounds of violation under the World Bank-mediated treaty. Moreover, more than 80% of its irrigation depends on Indus and its tributaries.

Pakistan foreign ministry in a statement said, “Pakistan is seriously concerned about the inauguration (of the Kishanganga plant),” adding, “Pakistan believes that the inauguration of the project without the resolution of the dispute is tantamount to violation of the Indus Waters Treaty”.

The Indus Waters Treaty regulates the use of Indus river waters by India and Pakistan. The Jhelum originates in India and flows into Pakistan, and according to the Indus Water Treaty, whoever builds the project first will have the first rights on the river water.

The hydro project had been delayed for several years as Pakistan took the matter to the International Court of Arbitration, which came out in India’s favour in 2013.

India says that it does not breach the treaty, as the hydro projects in Jammu Kashmir are “run-of-the-river” schemes that use the river’s flow and elevation to generate electricity rather than large reservoirs.

According to Livemint, the project is being accelerated on the backdrop of China developing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of its flagship infrastructure initiative “One Belt One Road”.

PM Modi also tweeted, “Jammu and Kashmir are going to get development projects worth Rs 25,000 crore. These projects will have a positive impact on the people of the state.”

Officials informed that nine people were killed due to firing between security forces, one day before Modi’s visit to Kashmir.

The Prime minister is on a daylong visit to the state; he also flagged off the construction of the 14 km long Zojila tunnel and the 6.5-km Z-More tunnel on Srinagar-Kargil road to provide all-weather connectivity between the cities of Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. It is the longest road tunnel in India and Asia’s longest two-way tunnel. The cost of constructing the tunnel will be $1 Billion (₹6700 crore approx.), as reported by Firstpost.

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