Pakistani and Indian experts have urged their respective governments to declare all Himalayan glaciers as “protected areas”, and demanded immediate demilitarisation of Siachen to preserve the world’s second longest glacier.
”Glaciers are important and a major source of the Indus Rivers System. To preserve these glaciers; there is an immediate need to declare all Himalayan Glaciers as protected area,” The Daily Times quoted a water and energy expert Arshad H Abbasi, as saying, citing consensus development during deliberations between Indian and Pakistani experts.
The experts of both countries also proposed setting up an independent Indus Water Commission consisting of neutral experts from various international agencies including the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Union (EU). They proposed that the commission directly be under the control of the United Nations (UN) and empowered to compile a data bank consisting of minor and major tributaries at all head-works, along with three-dimensional models of dams to represent geometric data of dams.
Abbasi stressed the need to make the Indus Water Treaty “more transparent using state-of-the-art information and communication technology tools” but termed it as a successful confidence -building measure. Experts suggested that environmental impact assessment is the best instrument to assess the possible adverse effects of a proposed project to rehabilitate watershed in IHK and HP.
Abbasi also drew the attention to the incomplete work on 990 megawatt Kirthai Dam and 690 megawatt Rattle projects on the Chenab River in Kishtwar district of IHK that began in 2011. “Unfortunately, neither the Ministry of Water and Power, nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken up the case with government of India. This is to emphasise that we are left with a very short time to plead our case, as both projects are likely to complete in the next five years,” he said.
He added that accumulative live storage of these projects would could cause floods or dry up the Chenab and other rivers. (ANI)
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