Oscillating fate of Tawi Barrage project

With lofty prospects of providing a feeling of ”city tourism” to local people and tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir, Tawi River Barrage project sanctioned in 2010 continues to face hiccups even after 11 years, now, as new issues have crept in that have the potentiality of affecting the remaining works to be completed by the stipulated revised timeline. Technical aspects have it in respect of the inadequate height of the barrage which needs to be raised to strengthen the banks of River Tawi. In this connection, Indian Institute of Technology ( IIT ) Roorkee has opined that in its absence , damage to the adjoining areas could not be ruled out. Should this expert opinion be neglected and works kept going on without making any alterations and therefore take the risk as pointed out or follow the expert advice in which case, further delay in completion of the pending works could not be avoided. During the emergencies like floods, the proposed barrage must be in a position to have good control over the gushing waters of the river and in case of its low height , adjoining areas could face proportionate damages hence the paramount need of revising the height of the barrage. We have bitter experience of the floods of 2014 which were not only unexpected but that of being of such a devastating nature which calls for taking into consideration all safety measures in respect of the barrage.
Perhaps , late last year, when a full review of the project was made by the Administrative Council headed by the Lieutenant Governor and revised project for the pending works was accorded sanction to the tune of Rs.73.34 crore, these ancillary but important issues were not brought into the notice of the authorities, and why things by halves and in fits and starts are done or caused to be done in respect of this troubled barrage, is the moot question. Making all sorts of calculations, a maximum period of 10 months was worked out to be reasonably adequate for completion of the remaining works , say by late August 2022. It follows, therefore, that e-tendering process had to be initiated in the right earnest by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department so that mechanical and civil works could be taken up simultaneously to be completed within the stipulated timeframe. Though the tendering procedure per-se is initiated but the process has again stopped abruptly for unknown reasons. The project is becoming the object of uncertainties and its redemption is perhaps not known and where to address it for a hassles free completion, remains to be seen. It is really surprising that one after the other , this project gets plunged into difficulties denoting its utter mishandling by the authorities concerned. Like this, the much hyped project with lot of tourism and employment generating potential is getting stretched and prolonged in respect of its completion .
Tawi artificial lake considered first of its kind by way of constructing an auto mechanical barrage was thought to bestow a new look on the Jammu city and to boost tourism as it was duly approved by Central Water Commission of New Delhi too but it subsequently entered many phases of work abandonment so much so that for full seven years ,the work on it stopped resulting in various revisions in its cost of construction. If still confusions and non- clarity of issues keep on haunting this project, its fate shall further continue to oscillate between delays and uncertainties . Not that the Lt. Governor has not given proper directions in respect of its early completion and even the Administrative Council having accorded sanction for additional funds for the revised project on account of delays caused, it is , as such, beyond comprehension that a very serious approach is still found absent in those handling this project. That means the dream of having water recreation and sports facilities coupled with associated commercial ones around the lake amidst the city of Jammu shall further be eluding all hopes and projections . This project could provide some employment opportunities to the local people as it is aimed at promoting tourism in a good measure , being first of its kind in the UT. It is , therefore, hoped that a vigorous rather aggressive approach is pursued by all concerned authorities towards achieving the aim behind this much hyped project , at an early date, say by the revised timeframe of 10 months.