Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project, India


Baglihar Dam is built on Chenab River in the Doda district of Jammu & Kashmir. The hydro power project ‘Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project’, is a run-of-the-river power project on the Chenab River. This project was conceived in 1992, approved in 1996 and construction began in 1999. The main reason for this 450 (3 X 150 mw) MW project to be in news are the objections raised by Pakistan [1]. Pakistan claimed that, the dam is a gross violations of the Indus Water Treaty,. India reduced the water flow to fill up the Baglihar dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir, causing a loss of agriculture for farmers in Pakistan. India, on the other hand, has clarified that reduced flow in the Chenab river in Pakistan was a result of very little availability of water in a lean year [2]. The objection had lead to the project being referred to a World Bank appointed Neutral Expert. Pakistan feels that project violates the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) where as India says the project does not violate IWT [1]. Pakistan had raised four objections to the dam design in its case against the project. Swiss neutral expert, Raymond Lafitte has conceded three of its objections but upheld India s design to build spillway gates, which Pakistan vehemently objected [3] In June 2010, India and Pakistan resolved the issue relating to the initial filling of Baglihar dam deciding not to raise the matter further. The decision was arrived at the talks of Permanent Indus Commissioners meeting of the two countries [4].

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Basic Data
NameBaglihar Hydroelectric Power Project, India
ProvinceJammu & Kashmir
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsProject have installed capacity of 900 MW when complete. The project is estimated to cost USD $1 billion. The first phase of the Baglihar Dam was completed in 2004 [1].

Level of Investment (in USD)1,000,000,000
Type of PopulationUnknown
Start Date1999
Company Names or State EnterprisesJaiprakash Industries from India
SNC-Lavalin from Canada
Relevant government actorsGovernment of India, Government of J&K
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Government of India Government of Pakistan
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
During 1999-2004 India and Pakistan held several rounds of talks on the design of projects, but could not reach an agreement. After failure of talks on January 18, 2005 Pakistan raised six objections to the World Bank, a broker and signatory of Indus Water Treaty. In April 2005 the World Bank determined Pakistani claim as a ‘Difference’, a classification between less serious ‘Question’ and more serious ‘Dispute’ and in May 2005 appointed Professor Raymond Lafitte, a Swiss civil engineer, to adjudicate the difference. Lafitte declared his final verdict on February 12, 2007, in which he partially upheld some objections of Pakistan declaring that pondage capacity be reduced by 13.5%, height of dam structure be reduced by 1.5 meter and power intake tunnels be raised by 3 meters, thereby limiting some flow control capabilities of earlier design. However he rejected Pakistani objections on height and gated control of spillway declaring these were conforming to engineering norms of the day [1].
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Sources and Materials


The Indus Water Treaty 1960
[click to view]

[click to view]


Haris Gazdar
[click to view]

Spotlight on Indus River Diplomacy: India, Pakistan, and the Baglihar Dam Dispute
[click to view]

India, Pakistan and cooperation along the Indus River system
[click to view]

Water sharing between India and Pakistan: a critical evaluation of the Indus Water Treaty
[click to view]

Case Study of Transboundary Dispute Resolution: the Indus Water Treaty
[click to view]

Two Neighbours and a Treaty: Baglihar Project in Hot Waters
[click to view]

Dam of Division: Understanding the Baglihar Dispute
[click to view]

Baglihar and Politics of Water: A Historical Perspective from Pakistan

Media Links

Expert delivers verdict on Baglihar dam
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014