J-K Govt. takes steps to restore the lost glory of Weirs

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Srinagar, Dec.3 (ANI): After deciding to restore the lost glory of Weirs (dams along rivers and lakes) in the Kashmir Valley, the state government has commenced the revival work on a war-footing.

First in line for this makeover is the iron-made Weir on River Jhelum, both aesthetically and for strengthening its failing structure.

The Irrigation and Flood Control Department of Jammu and Kashmir has already started the work on the small dam.

It is also said that this weir in Kashmir is the only manually operated weir in the entire world.

A local resident recalled the time when the Weir was a major tourist attraction.

"This Weir was a spot where tourists used to come and Kashmir is known for its water bodies in the world. Today, when tourists come to see the riverbed, it looks very shabby. They don't get to see the Kashmir which they must have heard about. This restoration will correct it. That is why the importance of this work increases," said Riyaz Ahmad, a local residing near River Jhelum.

The restoration work is crucial since this dam is the only link for the people to communicate between the two banks.

The department has decided to make the river upstream and its adjoining channels within the city easily navigable.

The cost of this historical restoration is nine crore rupees (90 million rupees) and soon the department will be installing a stainless steel base to replace the old but similar structure constructed by the Maharaja of Kashmir.

Another hurdle that the engineers had t encounter was that there was no blueprint of the original Weir to plan the restoration.

"It was totally defunct. Now, the present government has given it the first priority. This is a heritage structure and the restoration should be made. The plan did not have any design and no documentation earlier and so last year we made a fresh plan to recreate it," said Mir Najeeb-Ullah, Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department.

The traditional Shikara boats, one of the prime attractions of Kashmir valley also ply along this water route.

As history goes, the Weir was constructed when Kashmir was considered a princely state during the British rule in India and took four years to be completed (1903-1907).

Until 1988, this Weir was successfully operated manually.

The Irrigation and Flood Control Department tried to unsuccessfully rebuild it in 2003 but the sorry state of the structure left the department hapless.

It took the engineers and architects meticulous study to come out with the current plan of restoration, which will enable them to only strengthen the physical structure and its aesthetics. (ANI)

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