Pul Doda, the highway town that has connected tourist hubs in Jammu and Kashmir for many years, will soon disappear from the state’s map as the rising Chenab river waters wash it away.Pul Doda is the last point of the 50 sq km lake made of Chenab river water that feeds the Baglihar hydro-electric project downstream.And as the Chenab water rises—thanks to rapid melting of snow in the mountains and heavy rains in the catchment areas—the historic town has began submerging in water.
And once the Chenab waters throw a water blanket on the town, Pul Doda, also known for its historic temples, would be lost forever.“The waters have risen by four meters and are to rise further,” Doda Deputy Commissioner Farooq Khan said.He said the state government had paid the land compensation to those living in the area while the power project was being constructed.
While the majority of the population has shifted, about 180 families have resisted eviction, demanding rehabilitation.“We were promised compensation for the loss of our houses and land and also rehabilitated somewhere else, but the government is shying away from fulfilling the second part of the promise,” said Abdul Karim, a resident of the town.
The houses, mosques, temples—everything is in deep water and the administration is threatening to take action against those refusing to leave.“The administration will not allow these people to stay on and risk their lives, we will evict them if need be,” Farooq Khan said.Pul Doda, on Batote-Kishtwar highway, is some 170 km from here, six km from district headquarters of Doda, 30 km from Bhaerwah—a tourist hub, and 60 km short of Kishtwar—the hub of hydro-electric projects. – Khaleejnews