World Bank appointed expert Raymond Lafitte yesterday began inspections at the 450MW Baglihar hydroelectric project site on the Chenab river in Jammu & Kashmir, India.
A Swiss team, led by Lafitte, was joined by Indian and Pakistani officials to conduct a three day tour of the dam, which will include a detailed inspection of the dam design.
The controversial dam has been the subject of much dispute between India and Pakistan, with Pakistan demanding work be stopped on the project because it believes the dam violates the Indus Water Treaty, and will give India an even share of the Chenab’s waters.
Pakistan approached the World Bank for help as it brokered the original Indus Water Treaty (1960), which gives the country exclusive rights to the waters of the Indus basin’s three western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab), and neighbours India control over the waters of the three eastern rivers (Ravi, Sutlej and Beas).
Lafitte was named as the World Bank’s neutral expert in May this year, a choice that was approved by both countries.