No erosion due to Baglihar Dam in Doda, says India

28 February 2009
The Daily Times

NEW DELHI: India on Saturday denied that the Baglihar Dam on River Chenab has, by eroding nearby hills, wreaked havoc in Doda district of Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). Addressing a press conference, Union Water Resources Minister Professor Saifuddin Soz said the heavy deforestation and not the dam was responsible for landslides in the region. In the last 15 days 600,000 people of Doda and Kishtwar districts have been cut off from the rest of the world after a massive landside occurred near Assar, 35 km from the dam. Engineers say it will take at least 45 days to build a new road to reconnect the twin districts with the world. Local geologists said they had warned about the catastrophe in 2000, but the Norwegian and German experts working on the project influenced the state government. IHK Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced that either an alternative road with tunnels would be constructed or the existing Batote-Doda national highway would be re-aligned at vulnerable places to avoid accidents. He also vowed to hire experts to undertake a survey to ascertain the ecological fallout of the Baglihar project.