Chinks in the Salal Dam safety measures lay exposed || by Bhushan Parimoo || LIVE IMAGE

 Fears expressed by the well wishers and the locals those who know topography, Geography and history of the charged scenario surfaced once again. It was the other day the media news both print and electronic layed open chinks in the safety measures for the Dam. 

 An Oil Tank carrier was seen floating on River Chenab in the area under the Salal Dam. Drifting along with strong monsoon currents, towards the Dam structure. Tanker must have met with an accident and rolled down upstream the river Chenab on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway. Hue and cry was   raised by those who saw it fearing in case it is not stopped in time before it reached Dam Structure may cause damage. 

Moreover, except apprehensions there was nothing to confirm within their means whether it is just a normal accidental stuff or a ploy laden with explosives to cause damage.  What is perturbing no efforts rather no mechanism has been put in place for preventive measures to stop any unwanted, sometimes suspicious objects far ahead of the Dam Structure. 

Primary reports   reveal that no effort was made to take it out before it got washed downstream through an escape tunnel. It is a very serious and disturbing matter that cannot be taken very lightly under the given circumstances.  Which gives rise to a valid apprehension, of lurking fear all the time in the minds of the locals? 

Those in case adversaries want to cause damage for attention as it have been in the habit of doing through explosives. Float objects that may appear unharmful, like small Ducks or other natural drifting objects, laden with explosive and cause   trigger at the desired place through remote control from a vantage point cannot be ruled out. 

Security system for its safety has many gray areas; surveillance system leaves much to be desired. It reminds breaching of a Dam on river Rhine, during Second World War, that generated Power for Germany  was taken invincible but allied breached it. Nothing is impossible and taken lightly this factor. 

Authorities when contacted on this serious issue    first feigned ignorance on the plea   that such incident has not been reported from the site. It became necessary to drive the point and share   the news and video .Adding that this lackadaisical has to be brought into the notice of the Minister Concerned or raised in the ongoing Parliament Monsoon Session. 

Wherein it should be demanded a high level inquiry,  along with the pending inquiry removal of the Chairman and Managing Director under whom the Dam falls, the Executive Director  Jammu , who looks after the Jammu and Kashmir Dams and the General Manager , in charge of the Dam . 

Because   for the last three years public and various social organisations have been pleading to demarcate its area, put a halt to illegal activities in view of its sensitive location. The General Manager, Joytipuram   has  acquired a habit  to refuse to meet general representations, relating to the Dam related issues. Under Dam Safety Act beside general conception cooperation of the locals and other well wishers is one of the dire necessity factors. Unless authority has a Crystal ball to manage affairs of the Dam through remote control.

Earlier there was a Log Boom across the river Chenab at a place called Kanthan,  miles upstream of the Dam That  was   constructed by the Dam authority  for safety measures    to  prevent the flow of Timber  which may cause avoidable damage to the Dam. River Chenab has been the mediums to water drifting transport for the timber extracted from the Chenab valley carried and collected at Akhnoor.

Which got  collapsed during 1997,  due to the irresponsible attitude of the Dam authority. This writer is witness to  its sordid affair,  because of the fact , repeated representation was made by the Environment Awareness Forum, to straighten the sagging Log Boom,  which has shown considerable wear and tear  required to be strengthened. 

Usual with them then and now, paid no heed to such a sensitive matter which was before them crying loud and bold. Thereafter it was not reconstructed for safety measures. This writer has warned  to take up the safety of the Dam seriously, which has been carried by this esteemed newspaper on  July 3, 2021 under caption Salal Dam Safety  thrown to the Winds Wherein it was shared that the  Salal Dan Safety  has started giving anxiety moments these days. 

Much has been left to desire in the border sense about its safety. Now it appears has been compromised to the hilt. This area has been a cause of concern, a  hot  trouble spot  subjected to military action right from first Pakistan India war of 1947-48.

A cliff through which a road has been  made at Arnas is called Captain Mode where an Army Captain got martyred which fighting insurgent. The second conflict, which stated from Rann of Kutch to divert attention for the purpose to infiltrate Pakistani soldiers between 26,000 and 33,000 crossed over from the then cease fire line dressed as Kashmiri locals headed for various areas within Kashmir under the code name Operation Gibraltar we called them Gorillas  it .

Mahore saw one of the bloodiest encounter in which Punjab Armed Police got martyred in large number, near Helicopter Pad and a temple has been raised in their memory. Later army was pressed to flush out the insurgent who had fanned to a very large area. 

This area was also used by them to move right up to  Ramban to cut  lifeline for kashmir Army supply , via Budan, Gool, Damkund  even attempted to harm suspension bridge over river Chenab at Dhamkun,  to cut only the only lifeline on the eastern side , on the northern these Gorillas  went  to Kulgam via Gulabgarh. 

1 September 1965, Pakistan launched another attack called Operation Grand Slam in the Chamb sector  with the objective to capture the Akhnoor to snap the military  supply line for Rajouri Poonch. Reach Almost reached  the target short of a few kms called Balah De Bagh It was change of command  in the Pakistan Army replacing  Gen Akhtar Hussain  Malik , an Ahmadiyan  Father in law of General Bajawa overall commander for operation Gabiltar  by  General Yahya Khan known for his baser pleasures .

 For one day Pakistan forces were without any command in Chambah sector. And next day early in the morning air strikes blunted the attack, and opening of the International Border in Khem Karan sector where the fierce tank battle took place, created a graveyard of Patton tanks that turned the tables. Peace was brokered under the Tashkent agreement. Again during 1971   When the Pakistan Air Force launched pre-emptive strikes on airfields in Western India on December 3, 1971, India responded by formally declaring war in the wee hours of December 4.

Gave birth to the Bangladesh as a nation Chamb sector defences once again got breached that which necessitated to open Shakargarh sector where our forces reached up to Sialkot railway station. Advantage gained was fritted away under Shimla agreement. A Bridge  known as Baradari  over river Chenab, southern point  of the Salal Dam, a second life line to supply  for the army, was a target, which had to be watched around the clock, through patrolling and air surveillance. 

A makeshift Helipad was created on the right bank of the river just near the bridge. And even during construction of the Dam area witnessed horrifying incidents of militancy. Hundreds innocent old infirm women youth child, feeding mothers  has been victim, many  incapacitated due to injuries , others lifelong of pain of those who  were stanched from them  for no fault of their. Area has seen migration of a large number of families and not returned till this date, 

The  Prankote massacre  killing 26 Hindus in the villages on 17 April 1998 falls in the area .Sh L.K.Advani  as Home minister visited the spot was  one of the many incidents of massacre in the area. Readers may like to know that this writer is witness all these incidents barring 1947 war, heard about it   from the elders, who took part at various battle fronts. 

As  regards 1965, witnessed it from day one in Chemabh sector as a student volunteers,  those  cooked food after collecting from door to door  in jammu took to Akhnoor for the evacuees , and after Pak tanks rolled in, refugees were given  shelter in G.M.Science College Jammu and elsewhere. Saw Jammu city citizens fleeing towards Pathankot.The evening airstrike on airfield  1971 was in Reasi, Radio links got abruptly switched off, though something worse has happened. Militancy period in Gool Gulabgarh ,Kargil war based in Srinagar did go to that area. Ready for any further query, stand by for every word that has been  shared .

Under the given security scenario is it worth to be complacent and let things happen, choice is yours.. 

 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
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