Save the Marwah Valley for all to see

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P1040320.JPG Perhaps now is the time to describe how the combination of the Pakel, Burser dams Hydroelectric scheme is meant to work. There will be two dams built; the one near Akali called the Pakel Dul Dams the one connected to the Power Plant via tunnels. This earth filled dam is quoted as 167 metres high and its headwaters go back as far as Lopara with some of the lower village and prosperous rice paddies thereabouts all being flooded. The other dam is the Burser Dam whose primary function is to maintain a water flow to the Pakel dam when the rivers stopped flowing with the onset of winter. The contact for the Pakel Dam has been awarded to the Chenab Valley Power Project. This is a consortium. The water from the Pakel Dul Dam is delivered through two 7.2 diameter tunnels about 10km long to an underground power station near the village Dul where there are 4 by 250mw turbines to produce the design requirement of 1000mw.

The position of the Burser dam has a mighty impact on the Marwah Valley. The planners have obviously chosen this position because of the large amount of water that will be available. I suspect they didn’t even visit the area with all assessments being done by something like Google maps. It would seem to be the position chosen based on convenience rather than any considerations of what areas are populated.

Having decided what they wanted they then moved on the Government to redefine the boundaries of Kishtwar national park. Without this adjustment under National Park rules no such dam could be built. I am an engineer and well conversed with feasibility studies. In this case this was no feasibility – it immediately became the final plan. Why they didn’t consider other sites such as above Warren or between Hanzel and Lopara defies logic.

I would have thought the people of the valley would be desperate about the plight offered them. Funny enough that doesn’t appear to be the case. Most of the villagers now feel that the Burser Dam will not go ahead. This is largely a result of the Protest which was organized by the people earlier this year. They say there was a sympathetic response from Government representatives including local MLPs. But of course the group going to Delhi to discuss the matter never happened as the Kashmir Government collapsed with the BJP resigning. So we are asked where do the people stand especially now that the state government is in disarray.

I can’t see them not building a second dam. With out a second dam the Pakel Dam would run out of water in the colder months. The solution as I see it is to build a second dam somewhere else that is less populated or alternatively to increase the power rating in the summer months and to progressively shut down the turbines as the water availability become s restricted.

The people of the valley are developing their houses and businesses rapidly. The g overnment is extending the road rapidly in conjunction with good quality bridges and culverts. All of this only makes sense if these capital expeditures are not to be flooded.

We need clarification and support from Local , State and Federal Government. We need this communication now.

Don’t build a Dam in the Marwah Valley

By an occasional correspondent:

Denis Buchan BSc. MEngSc, past member Institional Engineers Australia

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2) Some of the guys forming a protest committee located in Marwah Valley

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Section 1. The fabulous Marwah Valley- entrance way to Kishtwar National Park

Many of you may be wondering why a foreigner would pick this place the Marwah Valley to write about. Well the fact of the matter is I have been to this valley many times over the last 8 or so years. Before the problems in Kashmir erupted this valley was considered one of the treasured walks linking Kishtwar in Jammu to as far north as Sonamarg or even into Zanskar.


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