Abatement of pollution in River Tawi

Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo
The most of the civilizational development in the world was on the banks of rivers and India is a premier civilization out of them. Jammu city came into prominence since its rich historic past on the banks of river called Surya-Putri TAWI. Due to the religious beliefs and cultural heritage, this river has always been reverred by the Jammu populace.
Orginating and flowing down from glacial sources of Sudhmahadev ranges in Udhampur, this river flows perennially and is a major source of drinking water supply, irrigation system, aquatic life and biodiversity. After flowing down from Udhampur, it enters Jammu and can be seen under the foothills of Bahu fort and Bagebahu. It is said that people of Jammu used to drink water from the river and bathe also in it.
Presently due to rise in pollution, the river is ecologically in a state of dying. The increase in population, livestock, butchering houses and some industrial growth have been a major source of generation of pollution, both solid as well as liquid. There are approximately more than 20 major nallahs flowing directly into the river which carry most of this pollution.
Since the year 1996 (in the state), sewerage network schemes started to collect the sewage at sources and didn’t allow, at least, the liquid waste to flow into the drainage system which ultimately flows into these major nallahs draining out into Rivers. But still, only 30 percent of the Jammu city has been covered. It will take some more time obviously to make a good mechanism to stop this liquid waste flow into the river and it is the most important priority at this point of time.
A project has been envisaged in this regard. As the water body pollution and the environmental impact of the dying river have been taken very seriously by the government, national biodiversity authority, national green tribunal, some important thinkers on ecology and environment etc, the project assumes a great significance.
This project is based on interception, diversion of the liquid waste flowing in these nallahs to the existing sewerage network leading to Bhagwati Nagar Sewage Treatment Plant and treatment of the sewage. In addition, to cater to excess liquid waste, an additional STP has been proposed near Peerkho, Jammu. The present water after testing was found to be alarmingly polluted and all parameters/norms were found to be far higher than normally permissible.
This project has been designed as a state of art technology based and is first of its own kind in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir. The basic concept of this project is to intercept the sewage/waste water flowing in the nallahs draining into Tawi on the right bank of the river. After interception, this sewage will be diverted into the existing trunk sewer laid down to already functional sewerage treatment plants of 67 mld capacity at Bhagwati Nagar Gole.
The interception diversion will be operated with sensory processing. The gates of the outflow will close down automatically with sensor vision in case of rise of water level in the nallahs during rains or flash floods. During the rainy season or sudden rains which is common in Jammu, the sewage will mix with rain water reducing the impurities and this flooded water will be allowed to flow into the river. The beauty of the project is that the monitoring of the whole project maintenance can be done from home or even from a distance of thousands of kilometers since it will be linked to SCADA, which will be the advanced two-tier high tech system, the first in J&K state.
For the soild waste flowing alongside sewage, automatically operated mechanized trash gates upstream of interception diversion, have also been designed by the project dreamers on the job. These gates designed, will stop soild waste, trash, stones, rags, plastic etc accumlate and will be removed with the help of the mechanized screen conveyor belt system, lifting the waste, dumping sideways and transported to dumping site to be further processed under soild waste management.
All together, there are around 13 major nallahs on the right bank of the river while there are 6 nallahs on the left bank. These flow into the river in a stretch from Panjirthi to Bhagwati Nagar Gole on the right bank and from Gorkha Nagar to the Warehouse on the left bank. The important feature of this project is that all these nallahs drained into the river Tawi stretch are to be used for the proposed under-construction artificial lake which shall have also a Tawi River Front on the pattern of Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The polluted waters converted into the well cleaned water body, through the scientifically established processes, will be a source of the treated and clean water for the prestigious lake project. With the successful completion and functioning of the project, the long pending demand of the people of Jammu is going to be met keeping in view the cultural heritage, environmental importance, religious sanctity and beautification of River Tawi. Moreover, creating green space around the whole conceived plan is also a part of the dream project.
It was only a few days earlier that the official declaration was made to the effect that the DPR, amounting to Rs. 43.49 crores, of the project has been finalized and will be submitted for the formal approval. The government has to finally take the last call. The vision of the project, as conceived by a team of competent engineers and planners related to the urban development, deserves kudos. Keeping in view the vision of the project, the idea of the dream city for Jammu should also be handed over to the visionary planners of this project, who have a penchant for creation and development.
With the stage set for the work to start, the government should approve the project for Rs. 45 crore (keeping in view the cost of escalation) on a priority. The rainy season in Jammu is also nearing its closure, so the season of construction should take over and let the results show their face within six months of the beginning of the project. It is a time bound project which should take two to three years, maximum, to deliver what has been conceived fully, with minimum inconvenience to the city and the maximum output. Hope Jammu to lead other cities and towns of the Union Territory in this context too.
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