'Baglihar Report To Be Binding On India, Pak'
4 October 2005
The Indian Express
Jammu: Winding up marathon inspection of the 450-mw Baglihar hydro-electric power project, the head of the World Bank appointed team, Raymond Lafitte, on Tuesday said his report on technical aspects would be binding on both India and Pakistan.'We have inspected the Baglihar project and studied in depth objections raised by Pakistan and counter-points of India,' Swiss neutral expert Lafitte said. 'I have minutely studied technical details of the project, and I will submit my report to the World Bank,' he said adding my report would be binding on both India and Pakistan. The team carried out hectic two- day inspection of the Baghilar project in Doda district and held extensive discussions with officials concerned at Chanderkote site. It also studied the power house, dam design and course of river Chenab. 'We took into consideration points of view of both the countries while inspecting the dam design and peripheral structures,' Lafitte said before the team left for New Delhi. To a question whether the Baglihar issue had a bearing on the Indo-Pak peace process, he said, 'I am not a politician'. Besides Lafitte, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and two other Swiss neutral experts, the team comprised six Pakistani and four Indian officials. Lafitte was appointed the neutral expert by the World Bank in May to adjudicate on Rs 4,500 crore power project under terms of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty after Pakistan raised technical objections.