UDHAMPUR: Although India has accepted the recommendations of Prof Raymond Lafittee, a neutral expert appointed by the World Bank, a team of experts from Pakistan has inspected the 450-MW Baglihar hydroelectric project under construction on the Chenab in Ramban district. Pakistan has raised some objections over this project following which the World Bank had appointed a neutral expert to look into the matter. A three-member team of Pakistani experts, headed by Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, inspected the dam as well as its reservoir and took measurements at Chanderkote in Ramban district.
“During their visit in 2005 the Pakistani team had raised some objections about the height of the dam as well as the reservoir. The team especially visited these spots today “, the Power Development Corporation (PDC) MD Shantmanu, who is accompanying the Indian team, said.
The same Pakistani team had visited the dam site in 2005 and raised objections about the height of the dam. Pakistan had rushed to the World Bank with a complaint regarding violation of the Indus Water Treaty in the construction of the project. Subsequently, the World Bank appointed Prof. Raymond Lafitte at the Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne, Switzerland, as a neutral expert, who delivered his verdict in February, 2007.
Despite India accepting the verdict and deciding to lower the height of the dam besides making some other changes, Pakistan was still raising some objections. Today’s visit was aimed at clearing some objections. The Pakistani team also called on Governor N. N. Vohra. Talking to them the governor said called for further strengthening the Indus Water Treaty, making it even more beneficial for people of the two countries.
He said that while the people of Kashmir should gain maximum benefit of water harnessing, the people of Pakistan would need to be assured that their interests are not jeopradised. He said that the optimum harnessing of the hydel potential of Jammu and Kashmir for generating power would lead to the prosperity of the common masses and usher in the overall development of the region.
The Governor expressed happiness over the change of perspectives among the people of India and Pakistan in the past few years and said that the level of confidence needs to be further strengthened and sustained for the success of various initiatives aimed at heralding lasting peace and better understanding in the region. He stressed the need for building up an environment in which the people of the two countries would prosper and progress.
Vohra called for an agreed approach to tackle serious problems which are faced by both countries and sharing information on various issues of mutual concern like depleting water resources in the wake of melting glaciers due to global warming and water pollution etc.-SANA