The Mahura powerhouse, built by British engineers in 1902, has been defunct since 1997
Baramulla: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to reconstruct the small hydroelectric powerhouse known as “Mahura” in Uri, in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, which has been lying defunct for more than two decades.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramulla Dr Gulam Nabi Itoo told Kashmir Reader that the government plans to renovate and revive the heritage Mahura hydroelectric project with a generation capacity of 10.50 megawatt. He said the decision has been taken based on the demand of local people, who have now expressed gratitude to the government for fulfilling their demand.
Official sources said the decision was taken at a day-long meeting with officers of the Power Development Department (PDD) in Baramulla, a meeting chaired by the Principal Secretary, PDD, Rohit Kansal. Other officials of the PDD and of the district administration Baramulla including Deputy Commissioner Baramulla attended the meeting.
Sources said that in the meeting it was decided that work will start in March 2021.
The Mahura powerhouse in border town Uri was constructed by British engineers in 1902 on the left side of River Jhelum, close to the Mahura village along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. It is an 11-kilometer-long wooden canal that starts from village Boniyar and crosses many mountains before reaching Mahura village.
In 1962, the capacity of the powerhouse was increased from 4 megawatt (MW) to 9 megawatt.
The powerhouse was damaged in 1958 but was rebuilt in 1962. In 1992, the capacity of the powerhouse decreased from 9 MW to 2.5 MW when its machinery was damaged, and in 1997 the wooden canal of the powerhouse, too, was damaged at many places. Since then, the powerhouse became defunct completely.
An engineer at PDD Baramulla told Kashmir Reader that the government took steps for its renovation in 2014 but when engineers reported that the government should at least spend 60 crore rupees for its complete repair, the government forgot all about it.
He added that the Jammu & Kashmir government not only lost a valuable asset in the Mahura powerhouse, but also lakhs of rupees every month in the shape of salary of those who are posted for the security of the powerhouse.
The engineer welcomed the decision taken by the government to renovate the project as a step in the right direction.