Manali: It was a perfect Sunday morning today for the Prini village, the adopted village of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when all hell broke loose forcing downstream villagers and labourers to run for safety from rushing waters.
As a scene from some sci-fi movie, the reservoir of Newly built 4.8 MW Aleo Electric Project – 2 burst down near Aleo Bridge, about 2 Kms from Manali on the Naggar Highway.
Eye witnesses said that at around 10 a.m. in the morning when lots of people were crossing Aleo Bridge, the newly built reservoir nearby burst with a loud tug.
It is prudent to mention that this 12,000 cubic meter capacity reservoir was filled for the first time since its construction and was being tested since yesterday.
The local villagers blamed the promoters of the project for using sub standard material for its construction. Moreover, they claimed that the reservoir was constructed on land which was previously used as the dumping site for 192 MW ADHPL power project.
Miraculously the outburst got directed towards the river side otherwise had it had burst on the Aleo Bridge side, it would have swept the nearby labour camp resulting in lot of casualties.
The Local Manali SDM,Vinay Dhiman said that there was no intimation by the promoters of the power project regarding testing of the reservoir. He said that a departmental enquiry would be conducted about the reservoir bursting, while being tested. Meanwhile, news about bursting of this reservoir has put question marks on the Safety measures being taken by similar Hydro Projects constructed in the entire Himachal Pradesh. Photo: Sanjay Dutta
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.