Pakistani team arrives to inspect Baglihar

October 19th, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghJammu, Oct 19 (IANS) A seven-member Pakistani delegation of the Indus Water Treaty Commission arrived in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday to inspect the water storage in the Baglihar hydel project, which was commissioned Oct 10.The Pakistani team, led by secretary works Syed Jamait Ali Shah, will inspect the project Monday “to see if the water was being stored as permitted under the provisions of the IWT or in violation of it”.

The first phase of the 450 MW Baglihar Hydro Electric project, built on the Chenab river in Ramban district, was commissioned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Shah told reporters that the water inflow at Mirala head in Pakistan has reduced and this is “very bad for our irrigation needs as Pakistan is an agriculture dependent country. We reserve the rights to discuss this issue with India on the basis of the Indus Water Treaty.”

The World Bank-brokered Indus Water Treaty of 1960 distributes the rights over waters of six rivers between India and Pakistan - the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab to Pakistan and Ravi, Beas and Sutlej to India.

Pakistan has been raising objection on the construction of the Baglihar project since 2005 saying the height of the dam was more than the permissible limit under the treaty. The World Bank then appointed a Swiss civil engineer Prof. Raymond Lafitte to resolve the issue. He had suggested some changes in the design of the dam and given the go head, to which Pakistan agreed.

Shah told reporters that Pakistan’s objection this time was not about the design but about the reduced flow of water after the “initial storage of Baglihar dam began recently”.

“We will inspect the dam and put our views before Delhi, and India is obliged to give us all the requisite information on it as per the treaty,” Shah said.

While commissioning the project, the prime minister had categorically said: “No provision of the Indus Water Treaty has been violated at Baglihar”, and reiterated his commitment to honour the same.

While the Indian side contends that storage has been done under permissible limits, flow of water is reduced due to dry weather. This is the third inspection of Baglihar by the Pakistani team this year.

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