ISLAMABAD - Islamabad, in a much belated move, has now decided in principle to take up the blatant breach of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) by Delhi in much-debated 45 MW Nimoo-Buzgo hydroelectric project with International Court of Arbitration (ICA) with immediate effect, it is learnt reliably.

Sources privy to the matter informed TheNation on Monday that Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has now taken a decision in principle to take up the controversy over the Nimoo-Bazgo Hydropower Project being built on the Indus River, involving construction of the dam, coffer dam, diversion channel, power house and other defined facilities with International Court of Arbitration (ICA), has given a go-ahead signal” to approach ICA with immediate effect.

The PM has given its approval on the summary of Water and Power Ministry earlier recommended by Indus Water Commission of Pakistan (IWCP), the sources added.

It is a testimony to the fact that the country’s awakening is too much belated as India will be able to build the Nimoo-Bazgo project by July 2012 to suffocate the water flows in Indus that guarantees life to the whole of Pakistan. India has also managed to get approval of carbon credits amounting to $482,083 in seven years from the UN for Nimoo-Bazgo, which is not in line with the Indus Waters Treaty, after showing that it has got the clearance report on trans-boundary environmental impact assessment of the said project from Pakistan.

However, the Indus Water Commissioner of Pakistan (IWCP), through the Ministry of Water and Power, had sought the prime minister’s approval in January 2011 to write to the Indian Water Commissioner and apprise him of Pakistan’s intent to resolve the questions on Nimoo-Bazgo. The request was approved on May 21, 2011.

However, as the appointment of a neutral expert or moving to court of arbitration required another summary to the Prime Minister so is this approval right long after eight months.

Besides this, with accordance to the findings of Pakistani experts, the Nimoo-Bazgo project would substantially reduce water flows in Indus River, as the project has spillways with too much depth of the dam wherein water will be stored.

Furthermore, the design of the gated spillways and depth of the dam clearly breaches the IWT. Pakistan raised five objections to the design and depth of the dam, but Indian authorities has refused to consider/entertain them so far. Again, with the gated spillways India would be able to regulate the water of Indus, which is not acceptable to Pakistan. Additionally, the Indian government has so far not removed the five objections mainly on the pondage level, spillways and silt flushing outlet, etc earlier bilaterally raised in various meetings of the Indus River Commission.

Earlier, the inquiry conducted by Secretary WAPDA holding Jamaat Ali Shah responsible for the delay in dealing with the issue. “Shah lost the opportunity to take the issue to the court of arbitration and neutral expert,” Muhammad Imtiaz Tajawar said in the inquiry document. Upon this, the Ministry of Water and Power given approval to the recommendations of IWCP to raise the issue with ICA over much contentious Nimoo-Bazgo project on Indus River by India in total violation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) 1960. Furthermore, a delegation headed by an Acting Indus Water Commissioner on October 2 had visited the site of Nimoo-Bazgo Hydroelectric Project and found sheer violations of the Indus Basin Water Treaty 1960.

The Nimoo-Bazgo Power Project situated at village Alchi, 70 kilometres from Leh District on the Indus River in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, was initially planned to generate 45MW hydropower electricity. The 57-meter high Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project is situated in Indian-held Kashmir.