India not weak to fear militant attacks: Taj

SHAH ABBAS

Srinagar

10 October

State government has taken militant attack on Wular barrage project one and a half months earlier as a challenge and on the last day of autumn session of the legislative assembly it warned that India is not so weak that it will fear militant attacks. Government also tried defending that building of Wullar barrage saying it is not by means a violation of Indus Water Treaty.

During zero hour in the legislative assembly a lawmaker Chaman Lal Gupta, raised the issue that after the militant attack on Wullar Barrage, the project work has been stopped.

Taj Mohi-ul-Din, Minister for Irrigation and Flood Control – Photo: Bilal Bahadur

Reacting to the query, Taj Mohi-ul-Din, minister for Irrigation and Flood Control informed the house that the attack on the Wullar barrage on 1st September 2012 was the handiwork of militants.

“Unfortunately the other side is eyeing on Wullar Barrage Project and militants attacked to stop work on it but I assure that work has been initiated once again and people are coming back to their work, we have deployed a full Company of CRPF at the site to protect it and the men who are working there,” said Taj.

Apparently representing Union government of India Taj said, “India is not violating Indus water Treaty in any way.” Referring the words of the Treaty Taj said, “India can build structures on Jehlum to store water in lakes and off channels”.

Minister for irrigation and flood control further said, “India is not so weak that it will fear militant attacks like Wullar.”

Wullar Barrage Project is a navigation lock-cum-control structure at the mouth of Wullar Lake. The main purpose was to raise the water level of Wullarlake and regulate the flow of water into Jhelum for the use of power projects down below Sopore. The project was conceived in the early 1980s and work began in 1984. But Pakistan objected it and since 1987 work on the project remained suspended. Pakistan felt that under the garb of Wullar Lake Conservation India is violating the Indus Water treaty of 1960.

A group of heavily armed militants had raided the Wullar Conservation Project (Wullar barrage) on 1 September this year resulting in stopping of the construction work for some time. During the attack , militants had used a bulldozer to demolish an embankment which was being raised by the workers on the edge of Asia’s largest fresh water lake.

Before fleeing the spot, the militants had warned the workers, most of them non-locals, of dire consequences if they continued construction at the site.

On Wullar Lake, a popular picnic and tourist spot, India plans to build a structure on the Jhelum River at the mouth of the lake that will allow it to release water during the river’s lean winter months. The decision has outraged neighboring Pakistan, which believes the project will give India the power to control how much water flows downstream to its farmers.

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