The government authorizes 8 hydroelectric projects on the Indus in Ladakh
The government has authorized eight 144 MW hydroelectric projects on the Indus River and its tributaries in Ladakh, the highest so far, Ministry sources Jal Shakti said on Thursday. At present, there are several small projects, with a collective capacity of 113 MW in the Indus in Ladakh, and the new projects will have much more capacity than those built so far, added a senior official.
The official said the new projects have been approved by the Central Water Commission and the Indus Commissioner after a separate Union Territory from Ladakh was announced last year. These projects will emerge in the Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh.
Due to its topography, it is not feasible to build large hydroelectric projects in the Ladakh region.
The hydroelectric projects of Durbuk Shyok (19 MW), Shankoo (18.5 MW), Nimu Chilling (24 MW), Rongdo (12 MW), Ratan Nag (10.5 MW) have been authorized for Leh, while Mangdum Sangra (19 MW), Kargil Hunderman (25 MW) and Tamasha (12 MW) have been licensed for Kargil, the official added.
Many of the existing projects as small as 1 MW capacity.
Construction of the new projects will begin after other mandatory authorizations are obtained, the official said. “The designs of these projects have been certified as compatible with the Indus Water Treaty by the Central Water Commission. Information on the design of these projects is being provided to Pakistan in accordance with the provisions of the treaty, ”the official said.
“Project development on the Indus River has been slow, especially in the Ladakh region. So far only two major projects have been built: the 44 MW Chutak project in Suru, a tributary of the Indus, and the 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo project in the Indus, ”the official said.
Under the Indus Waters Treaty between New Delhi and Islamabad, the use of the water of the Indus and its five tributaries flowing from India to Pakistan has been divided.
The treaty specifies that the waters of three eastern rivers, namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, have been reserved for India, while those of the western rivers, namely Indo, Chenab and Jhelum, are for Pakistan.
However, India claims that it has unlimited rights to develop hydropower projects on western rivers within specified design parameters. Of the total 168 million acre-feet, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej’s share of India’s water is 33 mcf, which is almost 20 percent.
India uses between 93% and 94% of its stake under the Indus Water Treaty. The rest of the water remains unused and goes to Pakistan. Efforts to harness that water are underway through a series of projects such as the Ujh Multipurpose project, the Shahpurkandi dam project and the second Ravi Beas Link, the official added.