July 25, 2019 at 7:50 pm
CHITRAL; The glacial lake outburst flood (glof) striking the Golen valley on the evening of 7th July last left exposed the technical fault and lack of proper planning on the part of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) as the headworks of its 108 mega watt hydro power station was damaged leading to its shut down.
Five numbers of suspension bridges constructed by WAPDA over the streams were also washed away along with the 6-kms long road as a result of which the valley remained totally disconnected from the rest of the district for four days as it is enveloped by loft and insurmountable mountains on all four sides.
The reinforced cement concrete (RCC) bridges and the road had been constructed three years ago as part of the Golen hydro power project whose power channel had its headworks in the middle of the valley.
The residents of the valley said that Wapda engineers and planners utterly neglected the specific geographical features of the valley and their advices were always turned down with disgust whenever they wanted to share their experience with them.
Abdul Wali Khan advocate, a former member of zilla council from the area, said that destruction of the infrastructure of roads and bridges coupled with the headworks of the power channel due to the first ever glof after their construction showed that it was solely due to the failure of design.
He said that the organization did not carried out the study of the physical features of the valley which had a large volume of glacier in its highland with eight numbers of glacial lakes which had been declared sensitive by the environmentalists long ago.
“It was mega project of Rs. 15 billion whose feasibility study must have been carried out in which all the facts and facets of its topography is taken into consideration and the situation after the glof has showed that it was totally a farce practice if they had done any.
The local residents had time and again expressed their reservations and apprehensions regarding the design and alignment of the road and the position of the headworks of the power channel on the basis of their local knowledge but the arrogant engineers turned them down”, he said.
Hajeebullah Khan, an octogenarian of Bubaka village of the valley, said that during his life span, he had witnessed three glofs including the recent one which spelled more disaster to the agricultural lands, homes and fruit orchards than the earlier two ones because this time, the low-lying bridges diverted the flood water to the villages.
He said that the engineers of Wapda were too inept to see the possible way of the passage of flood along the stream and kept the alignment of the road such that it was completely washed away by the flood.
Rafiq Ahmed, a civil engineer working with an international organization, said that the spanning of all the bridges were too short to conform to the abnormal magnitude of flood as it was evident that the abutments of all the five bridges had been washed away while the superstructure and decks remained intact in all the cases.
He said that the positioning of the headworks of the power channel was also highly defective due to its proximity to the stream and the designers had totally consigned to oblivion the hard fact that glof will pass through the stream any time.