India has moved the Court of Arbitration at The Hague for “clarification” or “interpretation” of the February order on its dispute with Pakistan over the 330-MW Kishanganga project under construction in North Kashmir.
In the order, the court does not permit New Delhi to use the modern “draw down” technique for removal of silt deposits in run-of-the-river dams on rivers allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.
On the last day of the three-month period for India to seek “clarification,” New Delhi said on Monday the order should be amended to make it “project-specific.” In the case of the Baglihar dam — another run-of-the-river project — the neutral expert appointed by the World Bank had accepted this state-of-the-art technique for removing silt and sedimentation from the reservoir, India maintained.
The “draw down” technique requires depletion of reservoirs below the “dead storage level,” on which Pakistan had reservations as, it said, it allowed India to regulate the waters.
In its II part of the order, the court held that “except in unforeseen emergency” the Treaty does not permit India’s reduction below the “dead storage level” of the water in the reservoirs of run-of-the-river plants located on rivers allocated to Pakistan.
“The ruling does not apply to plants already in operation or under construction,” the court chaired by Judge Stephen M. Schwebel said.
In its partial award delivered in February this year, the Arbitration Court, however, upheld the legality of India’s right under the treaty to divert waters from the Kishanganga/Neelam river (a tributary of the Jhelum) to Bonar Nallah, also a tributary of the Jhelum for the Rs. 3,600-crore Kishanganga hydro-electric project in Baramullah district.
The court, however, held that India will have to maintain a minimum flow of waters in Kishanganga at a rate which will be determined by the court in its final award, expected by the end of the year.