WB expert studies Baglihar design
2 October 2005
New Delhi: World Bank-appointed Swiss neutral expert Raymond Lafitte on Sunday began inspecting the dam design and “peripheral setup” of the 450-MW controversial Baglihar hydel project in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian news reports said. “The team entered the project construction site at Chanderkote area of the district at around 1000 hrs. The team straight away went to the dam site and began inspecting its peripheral structures like the diversion tunnels,” a senior official involved in the process was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying. The three-member Swiss team will discuss the entire design with the Indian and Pakistani officials during the inspection tour after studying the flow of the Chenab river and the various data provided, PTI said. It said Pakistani representatives headed by Syed Jamait Ali Shah had brought along “documentary evidence” in support of their contentions. The Pakistani group includes Ashfaq Mehmood, Bashir Qureshi, Asif Baig, Peter Joseph and Faisal Ahmed while Indian team led by R. Jayascela are B.K. Mathur, D.P. Dharzi and Naresh Kumar. Lafitte, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, arrived in Jammu along with two other Swiss neutral experts, six Pakistani and four Indian officials on Saturday. Lafitte was appointed the neutral expert to adjudicate on the Rs45 billion power project by the World Bank in May under the terms of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty after Pakistan said that the construction of the project was in violation of the treaty. Under the treaty, the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi waters of the Indus branch were accorded to India while Jhelum, Chenab and Indus were given to Pakistan. The treaty allowed Jammu and Kashmir to use the waters of the western rivers for “non-consumption purposes”. Pakistan’s contention is that the Baghliar dam would deprive it of over 7,000 cusecs of water every day adversely affecting its agriculture., PTI said. Indian and Pakistani officials are scheduled to meet in New Delhi in November to discuss another power project being constructed on the Kishanganga river in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan alleges that its design violates the treaty. Officials of the two sides will visit the project site from Nov 7-9 before holding talks from Nov 10-12.