India-Pakistan water dispute escalates power project costs

Jammu, Nov 18 (IANS) The water disputes between India and Pakistan are making the costs of hydroelectric projects escalate, say power department officials pointing to the 330 MW Kishenganga project in Jammu and Kashmir.

The cost of the Kishenganga project has gone up from the original Rs.2,238 crore (nearly $490 million) to Rs.3,642 crore ($800 million), according to statistics provided by the power development department. The deadline for its completion has also been extended by two years.

Work started over Kishenganga river in Bandipore district of Jammu and Kashmir in October 2009 and was to be completed in five years.

Now, due to objections raised by Pakistan, which is protesting the diversion of river waters for the hydroelectric project citing provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, the project will get completed only by 2016, say power department officials.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has written to the power ministry at the centre not to allow delays in the construction of the project and to sort out all matters with the Pakistani government.

‘Pakistan should have no objection as the project construction follows all norms of the Indus Water Treaty,’ a senior officer of the state government told IANS.

Pakistan had raised objections over the 450 MW Baglihar power project in Ramban district of Kashmir. The project was to be completed in 2004, but it could be done only by 2008.

‘It is unfortunate that Pakistan is raising the bogey of violation of the Indus Water Treaty and causing delays in our projects,’ the officer said.

-Indo-Asian News Service


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