In line with a decision to step up exploitation of India’s share of water in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), an environment ministry expert panel has recommended clearance to the 1,856 MW Sawalkote hydropower project in Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corp. Ltd (JKSPDC) project is estimated to cost over Rs22,000 crore. It was recommended for environment clearance by the environment ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects during its latest meeting on 30-31 January, according to the minutes of the meeting.
The final decision on granting clearance will be taken by the environment ministry but it rarely overturns the recommendations of the expert panel.
In September, 18 soldiers were killed when militants stormed an Indian Army battalion headquarters in northern Jammu and Kashmir (Uri region), close to Line of Control. Following that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed the government to step up exploitation of India’s share of water in the IWT. Signed by India and Pakistan in 1960, IWT gives a detailed framework for sharing the waters from the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers .
The project in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir envisages construction of a 192.5m high concrete gravity dam to utilize water of Chenab River. An underground powerhouse has been proposed whose installed capacity would be 1,856 MW. It involves utilization of flow of Chenab River for generation of electrical power in a run-of-the-river scheme.