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World Bank expert to visit Baglihar project site

Source: PTI
September 30, 2005 13:57 IST
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As part of efforts to sort out differences between India and Pakistan on the Baglihar hydel project in Jammu and Kashmir, a neutral expert appointed by World Bank would be visiting the project site, official sources said on Friday.

Raymond Lafitte, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, will arrive in Jammu on Saturday as head of the World Bank team and would visit the site on October 2, the sources said.

Officials from India and Pakistan would accompany Lafitte, they said.

'Baglihar to be completed by June 2006'

Lafitte was appointed neutral expert for the contentious 450 mw power project in May by the World Bank after Pakistan said construction of the Baglihar project violated the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

Sources said Lafitte already held initial round of talks with both sides in Paris in June during which officials of the two countries forwarded their written submissions reiterating their respective stands on the project.

Baglihar row technical, not political: Pakistan

Under the terms of the Indus Water Treaty, Lafitte's decision would be final and binding on both sides. The World Bank could, however, appoint an arbitration panel if both sides were not satisfied with his decision, they said.

Officials from India and Pakistan will meet from November 7 to 12 in New Delhi to discuss the power project being constructed at Kishengaga in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said, adding that the officials would visit the project site from November 7 to 9 before holding talks.

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