Kashmir hydro project faces delay due to Pakistan


Jammu : Pakistan’s objections over river water sharing are again biting hard into hydro-electric projects in Jammu and Kashmir, shooting up costs and causing delays in completion.

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According to Power Department officials, the latest casualty is the Kishenganga hydel project, which is now expected to cost over Rs.1,400 crore (about $310 million) more than the original estimate and to be delayed by two years.

The cost of the 330 MW project, originally estimated at Rs.2,238.67 crore (about $490 million), will now cost Rs.3,642.02 crore (about $800 million), say the officials. The 2014 deadline is likely to be extended to 2016.

The officials say the core issue behind this are the objections over the diversion of water raised by the Pakistani government, which is dead set against the clauses of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

The project work that started over river Kishenganga in Bandipore district in October 2009 was scheduled to be completed in five years.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has written to the central ministry of power not to allow delays in its construction and to sort out the matter with Islamabad.

“Pakistan should have no objection as the construction follows all the norms of the Indus Water Treaty,” a senior state government official told IANS.

Earlier, Pakistan had objected to the construction of the 450 MW Baglihar power project in Ramban district. Originally set to be completed in 2004, it could be completed and commissioned only in October 2008.

“It is unfortunate that Pakistan raises the bogey of the violation of the Indus Water Treaty and delays our projects,” the officer said.