India to speed up work on Kishanganga water project

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Srinagar, June 8 : Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh has said that work on the Kishanganga water project would be expedited citing the reason that Pakistan was also constructing a power project on the same river on its side.

During a meeting of the Indus Water Commissioners held earlier last week in Lahore, the two countries had decided that experts from the two countries would inspect the Kishanganga and Neelum Hydel projects.

Ramesh said in Srinagar that work on the 300MW Kishanganga project was at an advanced stage.

"We need to speed up the work on the project as Pakistan is also constructing a power project on the river with Chinese assistance," he told reporters on Saturday.

Ramesh claimed that the power project was based on 'run of the water' and did not involve storage of water at any stage.

When asked about the rationale behind constructing two projects on the same river while one of the two will not be viable, Ramesh said the project had "great strategic" and "foreign policy implications."

"I am sure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must have given a thought to it. Only the Prime Minister or the External Affairs Minister will be able to comment on the issue," he added.

"However, we are determined to implement the project which was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2007, the minister said.

Ramesh said the first phase of the Baghlihar project would be commissioned by March next year.

ANI

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