People in J-K demand Kashmir's water should be for Kashmiris

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Mar. 12 (ANI): The people in Jammu and Kashmir, which possesses abundant amount of natural resources, have demanded that water be streamlined and stored for consumption of those living in the region.

This season's good snowfall has brought cheer to the local populace. However, there is a caveat to their happiness as the people feel discriminated as their own resource is passed on to other party at their cost.

The Kashmiris also demanded that dams should be constructed for proper utilization of the precious natural resource for their use first and then be allowed to flow down.

Anil Bhatt, a senior journalist from Jammu, said the Indus Water Treaty brokered by the World Bank in 1960 was considered as the most successful water sharing pact between the two countries.

"But what I feel today is that this treaty is most discriminatory for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and people of India. It is because J&K unlike other states cannot harness water or cannot build up major hydro electro power projects as this will be a violation of the Indus Waters Treaty," he added.

Bhatt said the people of Jammu and Kashmir want this treaty to be revisited.

"The Prime Minister in the last November elections also raised concern over this. How can the farmers in Punjab and J&K cry for water when water is flowed to Pakistan and directly into the sea? The Government of India has also taken a call on this and formed a group and talks are scheduled to happen in March last. The populace of 1960 and 2017 is totally different. Their water needs have grown now," he added.

The Indus Water Treaty came after a decade of World Bank-brokered negotiations, which classified the six rivers of the Indus system into 'eastern' and 'western' rivers. A Permanent Indus Commission was also established to implement the treaty.

As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20 percent of the total water carried by the Indus river.

The Government of India had on several occasions said that Pakistan needs to walk away from terrorism for any government-level dialogue to take place on the treaty.

Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs has rejected India's participation at the Permanent Indus Commission meet on March 20-21.

The treaty allows India to construct storage up to 3.6 million acre feet on the western rivers. But India has developed no storage capacities nor has it utilized the water it is entitled to for irrigation. (ANI)