Indus water row resurfaces

in a major development, the Jammu and Kashmir (j&k) legislative council has passed a resolution urging the Union government to review the Indus Water Treaty in the best interests of the people of the state.

The motion was tabled in the upper house by National Conference (nc) legislator Deepinder Kaur. It was seconded by former agriculture minister and Kaur's party colleague Ram Paul. They demanded a rethink on the treaty and compensation to the state in lieu of losses it has had to suffer by adhering to the pact. The state minister for public health, engineering and irrigation, Qazi Mohammad Afzal, echoed their view. "Since the treaty has provided substantial benefits to states other than j&k in terms of additional irrigation potential and generation of power, our needs should be taken care of by the Centre,' the minister observed.

Afzal pointed out that Kashmir could have increased its irrigated area by about 40,500 hectares (ha), over and above the 33,589 ha being irrigated before 1960. He reminded the Centre that the irrigation and power potential of Ravi river was supposed to be shared between Punjab and j&k.

On its part, the Union government appears guarded. Senior joint commissioner in the Indus wing of the Union ministry of water resources, G A Ranganathan, says that they have yet to receive a copy of the resolution.

Under the Indus Water Treaty, New Delhi has relinquished its claim on three eastern rivers