NEW DELHI: India will put on fast track the strategically important Kishanganga Hydro Project in occupied Jammu and Kashmir on a tributary of the Jhelum river, in the wake of Pakistan commencing work on a similar project in its territory giving contract to a Chinese company. “Now that Pakistan has begun work with the help of a Chinese firm, we have to put the 969 mw project on a fast track to be done by the National Hydro Electric Power Corporation,” Indian Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.
While the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had cleared the project in July 2007, it saw cost overruns from Rs 22,000 crore to Rs 37,000 crore due to militancy and geological risks, Ramesh said. The Ministry will take the project with revised cost estimates to the CCEA again after which the NHPC would be asked to commence work at a fast speed.
“The project is of strategic importance as it is located on the border (Pakistan),” Ramesh said. With Pakistan side having begun work on their side of the river, India has to work with renewed sense of urgency, he said. The Jhelum tributary is called Kishanganga on the Indian side while it is known as Neelum in Pakistan.-SANA