Kishenganga dispute might be settled out of court: Khurshid

Chennai, Feb 11 (PTI) The Union Government today saidthere were "some signals" that the dispute over Kishengangapower project in Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan might besettled outside arbitration.

"That (matter) is already in arbitration in Geneva. Butthere are some signals that we might be able to settle itoutside arbitration," Union Water Resources Minister SalmanKhurshid told reporters here.

Pakistan has instituted proceedings in the InternationalCourt of Arbitration on the 330-MW project on Kishenganga, atributary of the Jhelum river in Jammu and Kashmir.

Islamabad''s bid to stall construction work at Kishengangatill the case was decided was foiled last month as it wasforced to withdraw a petition in this regard at theInternational Court of Arbitration.

Pakistan contends that the power project would lead todiversion of Kishenganga waters to Bonar Madumati Nallah,another tributary falling in Wullar Lake, which India rejects.

On China reportedly constructing a dam across theBrahmaputra close to Indian border, the Minister said therewas no need to be "alarmist."

"We are keeping in touch with Ministry of ExternalAffairs and the Environment Ministry. And if there is anyposition to take we will certainly take that position," hesaid.

"There are different views on this. But I think we shouldnot be alarmist on this. Whatever needs to be done will bedone," Khurshid said.

On inter-state water disputes, especially the ongoingMullaperiyar dam stand-off between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, hesaid he will not handle the issue in public.

"If there is issue between the states I will only handleit in my chamber and not out in public. We have standardprocedures by which such conflicts are resolved," he said.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu are locked in the dispute overconstructing a new dam in place of the existing over a centuryold structure. Kerala is insisting on a new dam which TamilNadu feels will harm irrigation prospects in the state.

Responding to a query on inter-linking of rivers, Khursidsaid it was "still very futuristic."

"Linking of rivers is not going to be a unilateral act ofthe Government of India. It will have to be the collaborationand participation of all the states. So the actual structureof how it is to be done is still to be worked out," he said.

The Supreme Court, which is monitoring this activity, wasbeing informed (of the progress).

"But it is too early to actually go into any specificsparticularly delicate specifics that could lead to animmediate reaction," he said.

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