Muzaffarabad Observes Shutter Down Against Diversion Of Neelum River

SRINAGAR — Muzaffarabad, the capital city of Pakistan controlled Kashmir witnessed a complete shut down on Thursday in protest against the diversion of Neelum River for commissioning Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP).

The strike call was given by an alliance of civil society activists who include lawyers, traders, political workers and students under the banner of “Darya Bachao, Muzaffarabad Bachao (Save River, Save Muzaffarabad) Committee,” Dawn reported.

The committee has been persistently organising different events to draw attention of the authorities concerned towards serious environmental issues following reduced water discharge in Neelum river beyond Nauseri – the composite dam site of NJHP– from where water is diverted through a tunnel system to the powerhouse in Chattar Klass, the report said.

Once roaring Neelum river now gives the looks of a small rivulet right from Nauseri to Domel, where it merges in Jhelum river, according to Dawn report.

Nauseri is located some 40km northeast of Muzaffarabad.

While the residents of Muzaffarabad are already reeling from the adverse effects of diversion of Neelum River, the proposed Kohala project, which envisages diversion of Jhelum River through a similar tunnel system, has compounded their worries.

Quoting witnesses, the report said that it was after a long time Muzaffarabad had witnessed such a successful strike, as all groups of traders were on the same page on this issue.

All markets, shops, medical stores and kiosks in all neighbourhoods observed the strike. Even the street vendors were not seen anywhere in the town.

“People of Muzaffarabad have woken up to the disaster wreaked by NJHP,” said Faisal Jamil Kashmiri, a lead activist of the committee.

He said NJHP was not a mega power project, but a “mega corruption project” at the cost of the lives of people of Muzaffarabad.


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