Baglihar hydroelectric plant delayed


Jammu : The commissioning of the 450 MW Baglihar hydroelectric plant over the river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir has been delayed beyond the December deadline, officials said.

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It will now be commissioned in mid-April — a delay of almost four more months for the project, which was to be commissioned in December 2004.

“The delay is because of some technical glitches, but we are now certain that this project will be commissioned in April 2008,” an official of the state’s power development department told IANS.

“It is almost complete, but the delay has been caused by some last-minute technical problems,” the official said Thursday without giving details of the technical problems confronting the project.

Work on the Baglihar project, the first-ever hydroelectric project being undertaken by the state government, began in 1999. The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd has built all other mega hydroelectric plants in the state — Uri, Salal and Dul Hasti.

Pakistan had raised objections against the design of the Baglihar project. It accused India of having kept the dam’s height much above that permitted by the Indus Water Treaty. It took its objections to the World Bank that had brokered the 1960 Indus Water Treaty that grants rights to oversee the use of Chenab, Indus and Jhelum which flow through Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan, while India retains powers to use the waters of Ravi, Sutlej and Beas which flow through Punjab to Pakistan.

A neutral observer Raymond Laffte, however, ruled in favour of India in February this year and that had raised hopes that the project would be commissioned soon. Power Minister Rigzin Jora had declared that the Rs.30 billion project would be ready by the end of December but it has been delayed yet again.