Kashmir/India – Water War

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Despite Pakistan reiterated claiming of Indus Water Treaty violation, India finally got the Aja International Court of Arbitration award on Kishanganga hydropower project, which is expected to come into operation in next months. The new dam in the occupied Kashmir region (80 per cent of which is already completed) will divert the Jhelum river waters through tunnels to the Wular Lake, submerging tens of villages. Proliferation of HP plants along the Indus tributaries – Jhelum, Sutlej, Chenab, Ravi, Beas – is heightening tensions between the two countries. As even the “Avoiding Water Wars in South and Central Asia” report by US Senator John Kerry acknowledged, the new dams under construction at present – 45 just in Kashmir – would eventually make it possible for India to block water supply providing for 80 per cent of Pakistan agriculture needs. Pakistani grudge has been growing over a long time. Hafiz Saeed, an Islamic fundamentalist on whom US placed a ten million dollars bounty, leaded a Punjabi peasants rally in Lahore claiming for “Water or War”. Hamid Gul, ex Pakistani secret service chief, even declared: «We have to show our determination. If necessary, Indian dams have to be sprung». In India hydropower has already originated dramatic consequences to environment and people: since the time of Bhakra – the very first Indian dam, built in 1963, greeted by Nehru as the “modern India temple” – more than 5,000 HP plants have been built, causing the evacuation of around 60million people and the lost of a huge forest cover. Now this “clean energy” source can even give rise to a war.

 

Bilaspur ancient town submerged by Sutley river in 1963 when Bhakra dam was builtFishermen at Wular LakeWular LakeKralpore village fated to be submerged upon the Kishanganga hydropower plant coming into operationBandipora villagers blocking roads as a protest against Indian governmentKishanganga hydropower plant in Bandipora district, Kashmir, almost ready for operationRashmi Devi, Randal villager, attending a Him Dhara activists meeting discussing the damages caused by Karcham-Wangtoo run-of-the-river hydropower plantRandal villageCarcass of a cow, Hindu sacred animal, abandoned on Rampur hydropower project site, Sutley riverThe construction of the Karcham dam on Sutley river has swept tens of villages and hundreds hectares forest awayVillage in the Sangla valley well known for its apple cultivations, now partially submerged by the Karcham damSangla valley, well known for its apple cultivations, now partially submerged by the Karcham damRamanand and Shanti showing damages suffered by their home in the Rishikesh village due to the excavations for Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower plant's tunnelSaharan village overwhelmed by high voltage towers carrying power generated in Sutlej river hydropower plants to India plains townsSaharan villageKarcham-Wangtoo hydropower on Sutlej riverSutley river at an outlet of Karham-Wangtoo hydropower plantSutley river at an outlet of Karham-Wangtoo hydropower plantSrinagarMughal garden in SrinagarGreengrocer on Dal Lake, SrinagarDastgir Saheb Khanjar sanctuary, SrinagarSrinagar floating gardensKhanqah of Shah Hamdan mosque, SrinagarSrinagar floating gardensAlong the Jelhum river in SrinagarSrinagar floating gardensSutlej river at Nanj village, at hazard as a consequence of the new Luhri Hydropower projectSutley river valley by Luhri village where a new hydropower project is in the planning stageNanj village in the Sutley river valley at hazard as a consequence of the new Luhri hydropower projectThe site chosen for Luhri dam constructionThe only school in Nirath village, where there are no medical facilitiesFlooded temples in Old town Bilaspur, submerged by Sutley river in 1963 when Bhakra dam was builtHim Dhara activists looking at the Nathpa-Jakrih dam on Sutley river, India's biggest hydropower plantKarcham-Wangtoo hydropower plant dumping ground on Sutlej riverNathpa Jakrhi dam on Sutlej riverLandslide along Sutlej river caused by excavations for Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower plant's tunnelDamages suffered by a Rishikesh village house due to the excavations for Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower plant's tunnelBaroh village spokesmen reporting to Him Dhara activists and local press about damages caused by Rampur Hydropower project work in progressIndia supporters attending the daily "lowering of the flags" ceremony, which since 1959 takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, the only road link between India and PakistanIndian girls dancing during the daily "lowering of the flags" ceremony, which since 1959 takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, the only road link between India and PakistanDuring the daily "lowering of the flags" ceremony, which since 1959 takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, the only road link between India and PakistanPokaran military base where in 1974 and 1988 Indian government tested its nuclear weapons

Nonostante le proteste e i ripetuti appelli del Pakistan circa un’eventuale violazione dell’Indus Water Treaty, la Corte per gli arbitrati internazionali dell’Aja ha riconosciuto all’India il diritto di costruire l’impianto idroelettrico di Kishanganga, che dovrebbe entrare in funzione nei prossimi mesi. La nuova diga, l’ennesima costruita nei territori occupati del Kashmir, devierà le acque del fiume Jhelum nel lago Wular, allagando decine di villaggi della zona. La proliferazione di impianti idroelettrici lungo gli affluenti del fiume Indo – Jhelum, Sutlej, Chenab, Ravi, Beas – sta facendo crescere la tensione tra i due Paesi. Come riconosciuto anche dal rapporto del senatore statunitense John Kerry “Avoiding Water Wars in South and Central Asia”, le nuove dighe in costruzione – 45 solo in Kashmir – consentirebbero infatti all’India di bloccare l’approvvigionamento idrico da cui dipende l’80% dell’agricoltura pakistana. Da anni, in Pakistan la questione alimenta la retorica dei fondamentalisti. Al grido di “Acqua o Guerra”, migliaia di contadini inferociti hanno marciato per le strade di Lahore al seguito di Hafiz Saeed, considerato dagli Stati Uniti un pericoloso terrorista sulla cui testa pende una taglia di 10milioni di dollari. L’ex capo dei servizi segreti pakistani, Hamid Gul, ha più volte minacciato che “le dighe indiane sull’Indo vanno fatte saltare in aria”. In India l’industria idroelettrica ha già avuto drammatiche conseguenze per la popolazione e per l’ambiente: dalla costruzione nel 1963 della diga di Bhakra – il primo impianto idroelettrico indiano, salutato dall’allora primo ministro Nehru come “un tempio dell’India moderna” – sono stati realizzati oltre 5mila impianti idroelettrici, che hanno causato l’evacuazione di circa 60milioni di persone e la distruzione di migliaia di ettari di foresta. Oggi, questa “fonte di energia pulita” potrebbe essere la causa di una nuova guerra con il Pakistan.

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