Friday, July 1, 2016

Nature builds and destroys

Nature builds and destroys

Can you imagine, an event of a minute or two changes the history and geography of the area?  The area cultivating paddy and generating revenue for the state from rice suddenly become a dessert. A port that generate income of 100,000 kories/day falls into poverty? A town of 6000 population in 1820, become a ghost town of only 566 inhabitants by 2011?

Yes. It had happened due to an earthquake of 7.7-8.2 magnitude for 2 minutes in the evening of 16 June 1819. The flow of Indus River moved northward. A bund 80 km long, 6m wide and 6m high was created by the earthquake, that had blocked the flow of water of Nara (Puram/Kori), a tributary of Indus towards Lakhpat. The ancient great lake of Narayan Sarovar dried up. Lakhpat, the port on the mouth of Kori Creek and a centre of maritime activities between Gujarat and Sindh lost its significance. The bund was created by God, therefore, it is called Allah Bund/Dam. The creek was called kori, not because it was dry, but it was generating revenue for the State. But bund of 1819 made it kori, without business. The bund had blocked the way of the water flow from Sindhu and its tributaries towards Kutch. It had created a lake Sindari (1000 sqm)(Pakistan). 

People believe that the bund was created by the earthquake, but some villagers in kutch believed that the water flow was blacked by a Mir Muslim ruler of that area. The earthen dam was built by scarcity works using horns of buffalos for strengthening the structure. Looking at the length, width and height of the bund and the sparse population in the area, the argument of a man made structure can be ruled out. But the 80km structure can't be of the same shape, size and length in order without human interventions. Some bund must have come up by the earthquake, but the openings must have been closed by the human interventions as described by the people in Kutch. 

Some actions were initiated by British before independence in 1936 to bring water of Sindhu into Kutch through a branch canal, but didn't move beyond a paper work. When river water sharing agreements were signed between both the countries, this might have been missed. Now Narmada water has reached upto Anjar and Climate Change hasn't change the scarce precipitation over the area, the scarcity days of the area are not going away. 

South Gujarat receives the highest rainfall in the State but the water drain out into the Sea. Narmada river has improved the quality of life of the people of the State but if the water of Damanganga lifted up to North, it can further ease out the water demand. Linking Ganga (Damanganga) with Sarasvati (North Gujarat) will not only solve the problem of water shortage of North Gujarat but also will improve the flow of Narmada water towards Saurastra and Kutch. 

With the increase in population, the demand of water is increasing in Pakistan, therefore, it might be difficult to get a branch canal of Sindhu into Kutch by a bilateral treaty. However, the flood water of Sindhu, if diverted towards Kutch, it can be a great support. But will that be possible?

Kutch, 1/4 of the geographical area of the State, if supplied with water by all round efforts of water conservation, water storage, Narmada supply and somehow bring the Sindhu water, can become the growth engine of Gujarat. 

1 July 2016


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