With an aim to put Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, on the map as an independent tourism hub, several important projects have been launched by the government, among which the construction of an artificial lake on the Tawi river is one of the most ambitious projects.
This lake, which has been under construction for 13 years, got delayed due to several reasons. The work is now going on again and is expected to be completed by April, 2023.
The project was started by the previous National Conference-Congress coalition government in 2009. After jumping seven deadlines, the work has been completely stalled since 2018. On December 5, 2009, the then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah laid the foundation stone for which Rs 58 crore had been spent
Notably, the lake project was approved by Governor Jagmohan in 1986 and after decades of the delay, construction was approved by the state government in 2008-09. Under the project, an auto-mechanical barrage was to be constructed on the River Tawi. This will create an artificial lake in Beli Charana, which is 1500 meters long and 600 meters wide. A first-of-its-kind lake has the potential to boost tourism in Jammu city.
According to officials, the project was expected to be completed in April 2023 at a total cost of Rs 280 crore, which includes the construction of an artificial lake and beautification of river banks.
Jammu Municipal Corporation Mayor Rajinder Sharma told IANS that if everything goes well, the ongoing work on the artificial lake will be completed by April 2023, including river bank protection. The Tawi riverfront is being developed on the Sabarmati model. He said that after the delay the work has started again. “It is a very difficult project and it is hoped that it will be completed soon. The entry point of the lake will be very interesting, adding four more moons to the beauty of the temple city of Jammu.”
Along with this, the development and beautification projects of Tawi Riverside by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Tourism are also going on. When the project was initially launched, it was estimated to cost Rs 70 crore, but due to the incompetence of the contractor, the tender award was canceled for seven years, due to which the construction cost increased enormously.
The Administrative Council headed by the Lt. Governor has approved a revised amount of Rs 131.53 crore, including an additional grant of Rs 73.34 crore and Rs 58.19 crore already spent.
The Tawi riverfront work has been initiated at a cost of Rs 150 crore and will be completed in a period of 18 months. Construction was continuing rapidly on the left bank, right bank and island of the River Tawi. After the completion of the Tawi project, apart from developing water recreational and sports facilities, commercial activities around the artificial lake will be boosted, creating employment opportunities for local people and attracting tourists to Jammu city.