The administration’s recent decision to revive and rekindle the Jammu and Kashmir’s first Hydro Electric Project (HEP), one of the oldest hydel power plant in South Asia, Mohra (also spelled as Mahura) power house, has delighted the people of Kashmir in general and of Baramulla in particular.
Built in the year 1902 on the left bank of river Jhelum at Boniyar in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and commissioned in the year 1905, by the then monarch of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, by hiring the services of Canada born engineer, Major Alian de Litbniere, the MahuraHydro electric project was built with unique and rare features, which include 11 km long wooden flume as water conductor.
The power house started generating 3.75 megawatts electricity initially and it also served the purpose of irrigating nearest fields because of its unique construction. The power house suffered severe damage in the multiple floods that hit the area time to time. In 1959, the old power house was severely damaged in the flood and was renovated and its capacity was increased to 9 MW in the year 1962 and remained operational till 1992.
However, the 1992 floods again proved disastrous for the powerhouse and it devastated it beyond repair. The successive regimes latter showed no interest in reviving this historic power house.
Given the historic and heritage importance of the Mohra hydroelectric project, the then managing director, Jammu and Kashmir state power development corporation, Shah Faesal in the year 2017 had said that the corporation has prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Rs 120 crore to revive the heritage project under Prime Ministers development package.
The recent announcement of principal secretary to Government, RohitKansal, that Mohra hydroelectric project will be revived by constructing a 10.5 MW small hydro electric project at Mohra has again given a hope for the revival of this hydroelectric power project.
He said that Mohra HEP shall be taken up for its construction by J&K power development corporation and the work is expected to be allotted as early as March 21.
Given the historical importance of the power project, the residents hope that the new project will accommodate most of the old features particularly the water flume which can turn the site into a major tourist attraction too.