Baglihar power project commissioned in J

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Chanderkot, Ramban, Oct 10 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today commissioned 450-MW phase of prestigious 900-MW Baglihar hydro-electricity project on the river Chenab here in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr Singh, who arrived here on a two-day visit to the state amid tight security, pressed a remote button to inaugurate the power project.

The Baglihar power project, work on which started in 1999, has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan with Islamabad objecting to the height of the dam, alleging it was built in contravention to the Indus Water Treaty provisions.

The Baglihar project is the third hydel power project commissioned in J&K on river Chenab -- second by Dr Singh this year.

He had commissioned 360-MW Dul-Hasti project in Kishtwar on April 26.

The state power department had conceived the Baglihar project in 1992. Tenders for the project were first floated in 1996 but due to bureaucratic hurdles, fresh tenders were floated and contract for the construction was given to the Jai Prakash Industries in 1999.

It took nine-and-a-half years to complete the first phase of 900-MW Baglihar hydro-electricity project, Secretary, Power Development Department Sandeep Naik told mediapersons.

The cost of the project escalated from Rs 4,000 crore to over Rs 5,000 crore as estimates were revised, he said.

However, the commissioning of the Baglihar project is expected to give a major boost to the power sector of the state, which despite having a huge hydro-electricity potential is reeling under electricity shortage.

UNI VJ RP BD1525

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