Talks continue on Kishanganga hydro-electric project

26 July 2008
The News International

New Delhi: The Pakistan-India talks on the controversial Kishanganga hydro-electric project continued here on Saturday. Pakistan has raised serious objections over the project, which is being built by India on the Neelum River in held Kashmir. Indian media reports said India had accelerated the work on the project as it wanted to complete it before major work was completed on the Chinese-assisted Neelum-Jhelum project in Azad Kashmir. Pakistani Indus Water Commissioner Syed Jamat Ali Shah is leading a nine-member delegation at the talks, which will continue till July 28. Indus Water Commissioner G Raghunathan is heading the Indian side. Shah is scheduled to visit the Baglihar power project in the Doda district from July 29 to 31 to verify the changes in the design as suggested by the World Bank's neutral expert Raymond Laftee last year. The Kashmir Times reported that the Indian Ministry of Power had sought a fresh financial approval from the Indian cabinet to accelerate the work on the Kishanganga project. Quoting Union Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh, the daily said his ministry was seeking a fresh approval from the Indian Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) to complete the project. The Indian cabinet had already approved Rs 2,239 Crore for the project, but due to the escalation in the cost, more money was needed to complete it.