India decides to go ahead with Kishanganga project

25 July 2008
The Daily Times

New Delhi: India has decided to go ahead with the controversial 330-MW Kishanganga project coming up on the River Neelam in the Bandipora district of Kashmir, as Indian and Pakistani Indus commissioners began the 101 meeting of the Indus Commission here on Friday. The Indian Power Ministry is seeking a fresh financial approval from the Union Cabinet to accentuate works lest Pakistanís 960-MW Neelam-Jhelum project affects its construction. A nine-member Pakistani delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner Syed Jammat Ali Shah began four-day talks with Indian counterparts to conduct a detailed analysis of the Kishanganga project. The Indian delegation was led by its Indus Water Commissioner G Raghunathan. The officials will also share metrological and flood data. Shah will also visit the Bhagiliar power project in the Doda district between July 29 and 31 to verify changes in the design as suggested by the World Bank last year. The first phase of the 150-MW Bhaglihar power project is set to be commissioned in September 2008. Two other phases of 150-MW each will start generating electricity in October and November respectively. Pakistan is planning to approach World Bank to appoint an arbitrator if the commission fails to decide on objections raised by it. Fresh proposal: Indian Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh told Daily Times on Friday that his ministry was seeking the fresh approval from the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) to execute the Kishanganga project. Ramesh said that a revised cost estimate amounting to Rs 37.33 billion was being submitted to the cabinet. India and Pakistan have been locked in a dispute over the Kishenganga project for years. Kishenganga or the Neelam River is the largest tributary of the River Jhelum.