Indus Waters treaty must not be violated, says activist Medha Patkar

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Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar on Friday said she was not in favour of India unilaterally scrapping the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. In the wake of terror attack on Army base at Uri, some strategic thinkers have demanded that India scrap the water-sharing treaty to pressurise Pakistan.

“We are not in favour of breaking the Indus Water Treaty with the neighbouring country and launching a water war with it. We don’t want to turn rivers into a battle-field,” Patkar said.

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“Whether the issues related to sharing of water are international or inter-state, they should be solved through dialogue. These problems cannot be solved through politics,” she said. Patkar was in Indore to take part in a seminar on utility of large dams in India.

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“Government constructs large dams saying that they would produce hydro-power for supplying electricity to villages and provide water to the rural areas and agriculture. But in reality benefits go to the capitalists,” she said. She demanded a review of the policy which favours big dams and immediate stoppage of ongoing construction of such projects.

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“We are not saying that big dams are not useful for the country. But alternatives to them should be considered so that there is minimal displacement of people and least damage to the nature.” She also opposed centralised system of water management and said the decision-making should be left to the common people.

(With inputs from PTI)

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