Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad viewed the World Bank appointed neutral observer's award on the Baglihar power project a big Jammu and Kashmir centric "confidence building measure" between India and Pakistan and said that this was a time for the two countries and the people of the State to " celebrate".
Baglihar is the world's fourth highest dam even when it height climbs down to 143 metres against 144.5 metres as originally planned and designed.
Massive celebrations erupted at the project site, about 130 Kms north of Jammu, where several hundred workers and locals joined in celebrating the day after having heard that the project has been cleared. They chanted slogans and also distributed sweets.
Azad, who had joined the celebratory crowds, told HT on his return from the project site, the award that has given a green light to the 450-MW hydro-electric project over river Chenab, is "neither victory nor defeat for any of the countries involved."
"I think that this has been thrown as a big CBM by a neutral observer from Europe, from where we need to pick up our joint mechanism on power and water sectors. Since we are already talking about it, we are happy that this CBM has come at a time when the situation was in need of it."
"We are delighted because only 1.5 metres of dam height has been asked to be reduced against 4.5 metres that Pakistan had asked for, which has accordingly decreased our pending capacity from 37 million cubic metres of water to 32 million cubic. Pakistan should be happy that its contention on decrease of height has been accepted to some extent and the storage capacity too has come down."
Chief Minister said that this time when the two nations are engaged in building trust and opening new windows of opportunities, this award is a "win -win situation for all of us in the subcontinent".
With the announcement of the award, all the 6000 persons working in different capacities on the project felt new sense of confidence and their faces were glittering with joy and ecstasy.
Chief Minister felicitated all working engineers and experts that it is a matter of great honour that world renowned experts have vouchsafed the design of the project and cleared the same.
The Baglihar project has a total capacity of 900 MW.