A team of Pakistani experts will visit the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in the third week of February to assess an artificial lake under construction here.
“Since we have nothing to hide, let the team from Pakistan come and examine the lake project,” Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din told IANS.
The lake is under construction over the river Tawi, which runs through the state’s winter capital of Jammu. The river originates from Bhaderwah area in Doda district and traverses to Jammu before merging with Chenab which flows to Pakistan.
“The lake doesn’t come under the purview of the Indus Water Treaty, but still Pakistan has raised objections and it is sending its team to assess the construction of the lake and its implications on the water flow to Pakistan,” an official of the Public Health Engineering department told IANS.
Pakistan’s argument is that since Tawi is a tributary of river Chenab, which is one of the three major rivers – the other two being Jhelum and Indus – flowing from Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan, the usage of its waters is also covered under the 1960 World Bank brokered treaty.
The treaty gives powers to Pakistan to monitor the water usage of the three rivers from Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan while India monitors three rivers – Ravi, Sutlej and Beas – flowing from Punjab into Pakistan.
The artificial lake project was taken up last year, though it was conceived way back in the 1970s.