Jammu’s lifeline Tawi on verge of extinction

18 sewage channels from city polluting it; sand mafia indulging in unabated mining on riverbed

Jammu’s lifeline Tawi on verge of extinctionDespite tall claims of the state administration of saving the Tawi — lifeline of the winter capital — various sewage channels of the city continue to pollute it with impunity.

Consequently, Jammu’s lifeline is on the verge of extinction and what makes the situation more alarming is the fact that Jammu and Kashmir has suspended a plan of diverting highly polluted sewage channels into Tawi till the 13th Five Year Plan (from 2017 to 2021).

Tawi, which is also called “Suryaputri”, not only has immense religious significance, but also caters to potable water needs of a vast chunk of population. A walk over the riverbed of the rapidly drying up Tawi bares it all. While sand mafia could be seen indulging in unabated mining of sand, grovels and boulders, various sewage channels directly dump city’s filth and highly contaminated water into it.

“It’s an open secret that sand mafia, which has a strong backing of politicians, has been plundering the river of its mineral wealth,” said sources in the Geology and Mining Department.

“Nearly 18 sewage channels keep on flowing filth, polythene, other waste and polluted water of the city, which has a population of nearly 15 lakh people, into the Tawi,” said an official of the Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board (JKSPCB).

“These channels of waste discharge flow directly or indirectly into the Tawi from Kishenpur Manwal in Nagrota right up to Makwal in Tawi Island,” he added. The content of dissolved oxygen in one litre of water should be 6 milligram, but the Tawi water from the PHE lifting point at Bagh-e-Bahu and up to Bhagwati Nagar has 1.3 to 1.4 milligram dissolved oxygen per litre. Similarly, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) should not be less than 2 milligram per litre, but it varies from 8 milligram per litre to 40 milligram per litre in the Tawi, especially from Nagrota to Bhagwati Nagar. A Jammu Municipal Corporation official admitted that the river considered sacred by the people in Jammu has been polluted badly. Restoring river to its pristine glory seems to be a tough task as untreated waste continues to pour into it and the ambitious sewage treatment plants (STPs) at Bhagwati Nagar are yet to go full throttle.

The government has been coming up with STPs in Bhagwati Nagar at a snail’s pace. Each single day the 15 lakh population of Jammu city generates 400 tonnes of solid waste.

The Tawi originates from the Kali Kundi glacier, southwest of Bhadarwah in Doda district. The flow of water in the river has decreased alarmingly in the recent years as the glacier has been receding. The Tawi is a major tributary of the Chenab that flows into Pakistan.

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