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Pak to seek inspection of Baglihar project

india Updated: Feb 13, 2007 19:23 IST

Pakistan would seek permission from India to monitor the construction of the Baglihar power project in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after a World Bank-appointed neutral expert cleared the multi-crore scheme.

Water Secretary Ashfaq Mahmood said Pakistani officials would seek access from the Indus Water Commission in India to monitor the construction of the project on river Chenab to ensure that parameters set by the neutral arbitrator were being adhered to.

Mahmood had held several rounds of talks with Indian officials before Islamabad opted to approach the World Bank for arbitration under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

World Bank expert Raymond Lafitte yesterday cleared the project with minor alterations, including reduction of dam height by 1.5 mts, one of the objections raised by Islamabad.

"We have been doing it earlier. Our teams will go and make sure that the neutral expert's determination is being complied with," Mahmood told the Geo TV here.

Mahmood said he was "surprised" to see India's "positive reaction" after Lafitte submitted his report in Bern, Switzerland.

"India has been asked to reduce the height of the project from 4.5 meters to three meters and if India considers this a success, it is indeed surprising," he said.

While Lafitte supported India's stand on the spillway gates of the project, which Pakistan firmly objected to, he has termed results of model tests conducted by India as "unreal and illusory," Mahmood said.

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