Save Ranbir Canal

At that time, resources were scant, limited and exiguous with the Government in the vast state of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan etc governed by Maharaja Ranbir Singh when the necessity to construct a canal was increasingly felt, primarily to irrigate plain parched areas of land for agricultural purposes in Jammu. In fact, a small canal known as Shahi canal was constructed during the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh but its scope to address acute agricultural distress was quite limited. It was not a successful attempt and with limited engineering expertise and no affordable sources to outsource the same, many attempts were made till during the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh the canal in its present structure, though not with the same sheen, was constructed. Not only plain areas of land in Jammu but the ones in R.S.Pura and Samba were brought under its flow.
This canal undoubtedly was a game changing economic project which addressed agricultural distress and with the irrigation from it, agricultural production increased and the money incomes too. Production of R. S. Pura’s world famous Basmati rice is on account of the benefits derived from the irrigation from the water from this canal.
Agreed, we live in times of comforts of mass electrification, fans coolers, air conditioned environs etc and do not feel the rigors of the summer heat but in yester years, in harsh summers, the people used to get the pleasure of icy cold water from this canal for various reasons including enjoying the cool breeze on its banks especially during evenings and mornings. With the “discovery” and manufacture of villainous polythene bags and other plastic products, the woes of this proud canal started increasing. Gone are the days when its waters were crystal clear and without the stuff which it is subjected to be thrown in, from its both the banks. The condition is such that such an otherwise splendid , graceful and the amour – propre asset of Jammu, having attained the status nothing short of a legacy, stands grossly violated.
Let the causes of its having lost the original sheen and glory for which, perhaps, each one of us is responsible in one way or the other, be not enumerated just for academic reasons but the fact remains that what it is reduced to, can be gauged when water supply to it is suspended during winter months. One gets horrified to see the magnitude and the extent of the stuff usually getting into it and lying in heaps ,like polethene bags and bottles, waste material, broken plastic and earthen vessels and all other throwing(s) which make it highly polluted. Its branches or small channels which still use to supply water to a few low areas in the city have been pathetically reduced to black coloured stinking stuffed narrow drains which speaks loudly about how water bodies are treated. For every violation against things of pride like the magnificent Ranbir Canal, Governments alone are not expected to act and act very firmly but we, the people, have tremendous responsibilities to keep them protected and living to keep our history, culture and eco friendly things alive.