Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said Monday that the government would stop the Indian share of water flowing to Pakistan through three rivers-Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
“The issue of three rivers, whose water was given to Pakistan, is a separate issue but the water of our three rivers, whose water is necessary for our development, is also going to Pakistan. And the Indian Government has decided to stop water (of our share) of three rivers and will provide it to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to solve the problem of water,” said Gadkari while addressing the concluding session of Agri Leadership Summit-2018 held on Sunday.
Referring to the Indus Water Treaty (signed by India and Pakistan in 1960), the union minister said that India and Pakistan each had got three rivers after division of the country in 1947, claiming that Indian share of water was also going to Pakistan. Pointing out the scarcity of irrigation water, Gadkari said it was the biggest problem for farmers. He added that adequate water is not available at many places in Haryana.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Haryana Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar, who was also present when Gadkari was addressing the event, said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also raised the issue of Indus Water Treaty earlier. But now, statement of the Union Water Resources Minister means the matter may have reached the stage of planning.””If India stops its share of water going to Pakistan then Haryana would be benefitted as the availability of water to us would go up,” Dhankar added.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in a meeting with then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2009, had also raised the issue of Indian water going to Pakistan. “As per the Indus Water Treaty, 1960 the waters of the three eastern rivers namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej were earmarked to India for exclusive use. However, more than 3 MAF of water is still flowing to Pakistan from the river Ravi. It is possible to tap this precious source of water by constructing a barrage across river Ravi and Second Ravi-Beas Link meeting Beas river near Harike Barrage,” Hooda had stated.