The government on Tuesday informed the Senate that after the signing of Indus Water Treaty, 1960, India has completed as many as 52 hydroelectric plants, another 32 are under construction while 103 others are at planning stage on Rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.
During the question hour, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that 15 hydroelectric plants are constructed on Indus, 19 on Jhelum and 18 on Chenab Rivers by India and 22 are under construction at Indus, five each at Jhelum and Chenab, 12 are planned at Indus, 38 at Jhelum and 53 at Chenab.
In a written reply, the minister said that at present, India has no storage work constructed on the waters of these rivers, though limited pondage is available in the run of the river hydroelectric plants/ dams constructed by India on the three rivers.
“It may be noted that the Indus Water Treaty allows limited pondage in the run of the river hydroelectric plants for peaking operation in winter season,” he explained.
“Considering all the constructed hydroelectric plants on the three western rivers, the pondage is 42,989 acre-feet (AF) while the controllable volume of water above pondage provided is 1,76,922 AF,” the minister said. He was responding to a written question by MQM Senator Mian Ateeq Sheikh.
Through a supplementary question, the senator wanted to know while India is building so many projects how many projects Pakistan is planning to build or are under construction.
In reply, State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said that only project under construction is on River Neelum – Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project – on which India is raising objections.
In a written answer to a question by PTI’s Mohsin Aziz, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that SNGPL’s unaccounted for gas (UFG) during the last four years was 236639 mmcf, worth Rs 78,218 million, and those UFG incurred by SSGC were recorded at 217020mmcf, valuing at Rs 93648 million.
It is interesting to note that SNGPL had managed to reduce UFG in 2012-13 from 71252 mmcf to 46652 mmcf in 2015-16. However, in contrast to it, SSGC’s UFG that was 35258mmcf in same period spiraled to 64280 mmcf in 2015-16.
To another question, Khawaja Asif said during the last three years, no addition of storage capacity has been made in the existing small and large dams because unless specific provisions are made at the time of original design and construction for raising capacity in future, existing dams cannot be raised for increasing their original capabilities.
The minister noted that all studies on developing the water sector infrastructure projects duly consider the future projections to ascertain the availability of water and the demand of water for ever-increasing population and irrigated area etc.
These projects, he continued, provide the basis for evaluating the potential of water availability and scarcity: studies of these projects for planning of water resources are in process; Mohmand Dam with 0.676 million acre feet (MAF) live storage capacity, Akhori Dam with 6.00 MAF capacity, Shyok Dam with 5.400MAF capacity, Chiniot Dam with 1.00MAF, Bhimber Dam with 0.040 MAF, Dotara Dam with 0.132 MAF and Hingol Dam with 0.521 MAF capacity.
Replying to supplementary questions by Senator Sherry Rehman and Nauman Wazir Khattak, Abid Sher Ali said the government is trying its level best to ensure that public faces no difficulties during the approaching holy month of Ramadan.
He pointed out that Khawaja Asif had already said that there would be stability in electricity generation and distribution in late April and early May.-Business Recorder