Connect Anantnag-Baramulla stretch as a first step: Mehbooba
SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti Monday stressed on introduction of inland water transport in river Jhelum to boost tourism and also provide an alternate connectivity module to people.
Interacting with the visiting team of Inland Waterways Authority of India led by its Chairperson, Mrs. Nutan Guha Biswas here Monday, the Chief Minister said Jhelum being the nerve centre of the Valley’s socio cultural ethos, movement of people and freight through the river would recreate the good old days for which the place is known for in the history. This, she said, would give a consequential boost to the tourism of the state. She asked for connecting Anantnag-Baramulla stretch as a first step for introducing water transport in the river.
The Chief Minister also asked for linking the dredging of major irrigation canals with this waterway network and also think of using this network for cargo movement at a large scale in future.
Mehbooba Mufti asked for covering Salal Dam, Sindh and Chenab rivers under inland water transport. She also asked for reviving the old navigational channels in Wullar to make the lake an attraction for water transport thereby boosting tourism in the area.
The Chairperson of Inland Waterways Authority of India, Mrs. Nutan Guha Biswas informed the Chief Minister that all steps would be taken by her organisation to make Jhelum, Ravi, Tawi, Sindh and other rivers navigable. She said these rivers would be made navigable on the pattern of canals of Kerala by improving the permanent jetties on the Jhelum river and also introducing the new concept of floating jetties.
Mrs. Biswas also informed the Chief Minister that a Consultant for the purpose is being appointed by her organisation shortly after which the process of DPR formulation and start of work would be initiated. She said during her visit to Kashmir she would be holding discussions with the concerned Deputy Commissioners and also travelling herself through Jhelum river.
Mrs. Biswas presented a copy of Feasibility Report for Inland Water transport in river Jhelum to the Chief Minister.
The IWAI has already carried the hydrographic surveys and formulated a feasibility report for the declared portion of River Jhelum with a length of 110 kms i.e. from Sangam to Banyari (Wullar Entry). The State Government has identified its extended scope for Wullar Lake, from Sopore to Baramulla, from Sumbal to Manasbal Lake and from Shadipora to Duderhama (Qamar Sahib Shrine). The extended scope shall cover a length of 178 km of main River Jhelum besides a length of 60 kms on the peripheral lakes/tributaries.
The IWAI has been further requested by the State Government to conduct surveys, studies, feasibility and formulate DPRs for River Chenab, River Ravi as well as River Indus with their extended scopes identified by the State. The total length for the River Chenab declared NW – 26 is 53 kms and its extended scope has been recommended for a length of 50 kms. Similarly the Ravi River which flows through the three states Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and J&K has been declared as National waterways 84 with a length of 42 kms.
The State Government requested to explore possibility of Inland Water Transport on River Ravi for the reach flowing through the State of J&K for the purpose of Tourism and water sports. The Indus River has been declared NW – 46 for a length of 35 kms in Leh District. The state government has recommended to consider an extended length of about 50 kms in District Kargil.
The State Government assured the Chairperson that all possible help and cooperation shall be provided.