Sordid story of Tawi Lake

Way back in July 2010, the then Minister in charge of Irrigation and Flood Control Department envisioned the Jammu city beautification plan. Although the plan had several components, but the focus was on creating an artificial lake from the waters of Tawi and construct a beautiful boulevard along the banks of the river that would serve as a picnic spot, a walking strip and recreational and amusement source for the children. The artificial lake would be the centre piece of the entire project. Undoubtedly, it was a novel idea and the people especially the citizens of Jammu city were delighted to know that a recreational complex would come up and thus remove the endemic shortage of venues of recreation for the people of the city. The plan was submitted to the proper sources in New Delhi and it received a nod from them including commitment to meet partially the expenditures on such a plan. It concerned the Irrigation Department, Tourism Department and Revenue Department. The Government machinery was activated to prepare the blue print and go ahead with the project.
It will be reminded that when the impending project of constructing an artificial lake on Tawi was brought to the public domain, Pakistan unnecessarily raised issues and approached the World Bank with a complaint that in Jammu India was violating the clauses of the Indus Water Treaty. Teams of World Bank conducted on spot survey of the intended project and reported back to headquarters that no violation of the treaty was to be found and India was perfectly within her rights to raise a lake from the waters of Tawi.
Seven years have gone by and the project has not been completed. The most crucial part of the entire project was that of diverting the flow of numerous nullahs running down the city heights down into the river carrying down all the filth, garbage and refuse that its waters collect from the city locales. The plan was to divert the polluted waters of all these nullahs and find out a let off downstream of Mohinder Nagar where the limits of the proposed lake would end. Funds were allocated for this part of the project called diversion of the nullahs. No progress is reported in this direction. As such, the very sense of raising an artificial lake means collecting all the ditty and polluted water coming down from the nullahs in the lake that will stink beyond any figment of imagination. Why the project has been relegated to benign negligence? Isn’t it playing with the sentiments of the people of Jammu city? People in places of authority and Engineers who are conducting the project bring forth a number of excuses for leaving the job half way. Among the reasons is paucity or non-release of funds at proper time. This is the recurring reason given for delayed projects whether sponsored by the Centre or by the State. Our feedback indicates that release of funds is not the real cause but what actually leads to delay in release of installments is non submission of utilization certificates by the departments concerned. This prestigious City Lake Project has already jumped several deadlines up to June 2014  and now December 2017 has been given the next date of completion but insiders in the PHE, I&FC Department said that Lake project is unlikely to be completed even by June 2018. The officials connected with the project claim that this project is unlikely to be completed even in next one year as UEED has yet to start work on diversion of ten dirty nullahs from old Jammu city side and five from  left bank of the river  including Gorkha Nagar, Bahu Fort, Rajiv Nagar and Narwal side.
At the same time, there are also some contradictory reports about the progress of the project. People lose patience and then they begin to lose trust in the Government if they are treated like school boys. The Government must realize that the Lake Project is a commitment to the entire Jammu city population which cannot be taken for a ride.


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