PM to inaugurate Baglihar project Friday

October 7th, 2008 - 3:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghJammu, Oct 7 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be in Jammu and Kashmir Friday to inaugurate the 450 MW Baglihar hydroelectric project. Manmohan Singh will be landing at Udhampur, from where he is scheduled to fly to the Baglihar project site in Doda.

In April this year, the prime minister had visited Jammu to inaugurate the Dul Hasti power project constructed by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).

The Baglihar project, which is being built on the Chenab river and flows from Kashmir into Pakistan, has been a contentious one.

In 2005, Pakistan had sought the World Bank’s intervention to stop construction of the Baglihar dam and the hydroelectricity power project. An expert appointed by the World Bank had allowed India to go ahead with the project after a few minor modifications.

The issue came up last month as well when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari brought up the Baglihar dam issue during talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

“President Zardari also raised the water issue because Baglihar is filling the dam and the Pakistan Indus Water Commissioner was worried that water flow was low and he had complained to his colleagues,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had told reporters.

The prime minister assured Zardari that India will abide by its commitment under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, Menon said.

The 1960 treaty distributes the water of Indus and its tributaries between India and Pakistan and provides a mechanism for resolving water disputes.

Islamabad contends that the Baglihar dam has deprived Pakistan of critically needed water resources and has threatened to seek the World Bank’s intervention on the plea that New Delhi had not responded to its “repeated complaints” on the issue. India has denied the allegations.

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