JK seeks permission from EC to invite tenders for quantifying IWT losses

JK seeks permission from EC to invite tenders for quantifying IWT losses

SRINAGAR: After a United Kingdom-based consultancy engaged by J&K last year backed out, the state is soon expected to re-start the process of hiring consultancies for quantifying financial losses incurred by the state because of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
The Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Limited (JKSPDCL) had issued a formal order early last month conveying that “fresh tenders shall be invited for engagement of consultant/consulting firms for quantification of the (IWT) losses.”
The corporation, which manages power projects of the state, has subsequently sought permission from the Election Commission of India for inviting tenders while the Model Code of Conduct is in vogue.
“We have sought the permission, and we shall soon be inviting the tenders,” Managing Director of SPDCL Meraj Ahmad Kakroo told Kashmir Reader on Tuesday.
The IWT was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 as a settlement for water sharing. The treaty gives India exclusive rights to use waters of the eastern rivers—Sutlej, Beas and Ravi—and their tributaries before they enter Pakistan. Pakistan, under the treaty, secured rights over the waters of the western rivers—Chenab, Jhelum and Indus, which originate in J&K before entering into Pakistan.
It’s estimated that J&K has faced losses to the tune of Rs 20, 000 crore due to the water-sharing agreement, which prevents the state from full exploitation of its water-resources for generation of electricity. The state has been seeking compensation from New Delhi against the losses.
Since 2011, the state government has been trying to engage reputed multinational companies for assessing the losses. Tenders were invited by the state from consultancies from across the globe to quantify the losses, and sanction was subsequently accorded by the state cabinet to the UK-based M/S Halcrow Consulting India Pvt. Ltd early last year.
However, Halcrow had reportedly backed out, prompting the state to invite fresh tenders.
“Some consulting companies had submitted the tenders last time, but they lacked the requisite expertise. So, we will have to invite fresh tenders,” Kakroo said.
Of late, power generation and ownership of the hydropower projects in the water-rich state has been a major debate in the Kashmir Valley. While efforts are on to quantify the losses suffered due to IWT, New Delhi-owned NHPC has come under criticism for “looting” the water resources of the state.
The civil society in particular has been putting pressure on the NHPC to return to the state the power projects handled by it. The state government too has threatened to act against the company, which the state itself termed as an equivalent of the infamous East India Company.
The power generation is also becoming an election debate ahead of the Lok Sabha elections with many political parties including it in their elections manifestos.