Lost in exploring century old engineering marvel
Srinagar, Oct 28: Chattabal Weir—lowhead dam, has been regarded as an engineering marvel, built originally by British engineers a century ago when Kashmir was a princely state.
Built from 1903 to 1907, the manually operated Weir functioned sans any hitch up until 1988. The neglect started after 1989 and it was in 2003 that it attracted attention of state flood control and irrigation department but the government was unsuccessful in rebuilding it.
Now after decades, the department again proposed to renew the lost glory by commencing work on war foot basis to reactivate the manually controlled dam at an expenditure of over Rs 10 crores.
However, again the department seems to be finding difficult to take it to earlier period, despite availability of modern technology.
Locals, who have seen the Weir functioning manually before it went dysfunctional, three decades ago, have started to raise questions as the department started trial run few days back.
“It used to raise the water when level at Ram Munshi Bagh was at zero and even though they have commissioned it at about 2-ft level, there is no remarkable change and one wonders whether it would work when the water level drops to zero,” said residents.
“We have seen that there are putting sand sacks and big stones beneath the needles, suggesting that it is not working properly,” they added.
The Weir is said to be the only manually operated low head dam in the entire world to be operated manually.
Minister for Irrigation and Flood Control Taj Mohi-ud-Din had informed the Assembly during Winter session that Weir also known as Chattabal Navigational Lock would be thrown open by April this year. But it failed to miss the deadline and subsequent ones also.
According to Taj, the Weir would maintain a constant water level in the Jehlum besides provide constant supply of fresh water to Dal Lake. Primarily, the department aimed reactivation to raise the flow of its spill channels of Jhelum—the Sonar Kul and the Kuta Kul— to enable water transport through river. Aesthetically, the Weir has tourism interest as well as navigation interest for the government.
When contacted, SE Flood Control, Javed Jaffar asked people to repose faith in the department. “We have only started a trial run and people need not to worry as we will be after the construction agency for one year to complete the weir to the satisfaction of the masses,” he said.
“In-fact, we have been sharing all the details with the locals as Weir is heritage structure,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 29 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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