Pakistan’s ‘justified concerns’ addressed while building Baglihar: PM (Lead)

October 10th, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghChanderkot (Jammu and Kashmir), Oct 10 (IANS) Pakistan’s “justified concerns” have been taken care of while building the Baglihar hydel project, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday while inaugurating the first phase of the hydro power project that is slated to double the electricity generation in Jammu and Kashmir. “We have taken care of the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (while building the project) to the satisfaction of both the sides. We have taken care that justified concerns of our neighbours are taken care of and there are no complaints,” the prime minister said while inaugurating the 450 MW - first phase of the Baglihar hydel project built over the Chenab river.

He also urged Pakistan to join hands with India to embark on development projects.

“I take this opportunity to extend an invitation to Pakistan to join hands and work for the people of our nations. That is our duty toward our respective people,” he said to thunderous applause.

Pakistan had raised persistent objections to this project, saying its dam height was unacceptable in terms of the IWT, but finally intervention by the World Bank ruled that India needed to reduce the dam height from 144 metre to 142.5 meters.

He congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir on this “historic moment. “This project is important for the development of the state” and would double its power generation. At present, the state generates 309 MW, with the Baglihar project it is set to double, he said.

He also said that since hydro power is environmentally sound it should be tapped.

“Under the 11th Five Year Plan, there is a provision of 78,000 MW capacity for hydel projects in the country. In this regard, Jammu and Kashmir has immense potential.”

He said while building the Rs.55 billion Baglihar project, constructed by the state purely on its own, due care had been taken for rehabilitation of those displaced by the project.

He also said part of the electricity generated would be sold outside the state and generate Rs.9 billion annually, to be used for developmental projects.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, speaking on the occasion, said that the project would ensure prosperity and development for the state. “The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has ensured that all schemes that take to development path are taken care of. The project will provide direct and indirect benefit to the people.”

The 900 MW hydel project is being implemented in two phases of 450 MW each.

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