‘Swan River’ was once considered to be the sorrow of Una, but now it has been considered as harbinger of growth and prosperity says locals, for whom the channelization of waters of Swan River has proved to be a boon and has transformed their lives and raised their standard of living.
Locals said that since the Channelization of Swan River has been taken over by the Government, it has changed our destiny for the better as today we are earning handsome income by producing seasonal vegetables and cash crops on the reclaimed land and have shifted back to our traditional avocation of farming” they said.
The total length of the Swan River is 80 km, out of which about 60 km. falls in Himachal Pradesh. The total catchment area of Swan River is about 1400 sq.km, out of which 1200 sq. km. fall in the Una District and rest in Punjab where it joins Sutlej.
If we look back at the preceding years, the life of the people living on the banks of Swan River was full of misery and sorrow as frequent floods use to be annual practise creating bedlam, washing away their fertile land and livestock and even the houses. The people were fed-up of the continuous devastation being caused by the River year after year.
But, today the inhabitants of the area opine that they are obliged to the State Government, who, keeping in view the heavy damage caused by the River during monsoons initiated the process of channelizing ‘River of Sorrow’ in four phases.
The first phase of the Swan River Channelization was completed in year 2009 by spending Rs. 106.03 crore under which 16.67 kilometre river between Jhalera Bridge and Santokhgarh was channelized benefiting large number of people inhabiting on its banks. The successful execution of the first phase had helped in reclaiming the entire 2,260 hectare of land which was now being used for agricultural purposes.
The second Phase included construction of embankments on both banks of Swan River from Gagret Bridge to Jhalera with a total length of 28.34 km.
This phase was approved for Rs. 235.52 crore by Central Water Commission (CWC), Minister of Water Resources, New Delhi under Flood Management Programme of the Govt. of India in which 90% cost has been provided by the Govt. of India as Central Assistance and 10% is the State share. The funding of engineering components of this project amounting to Rs. 184.27 crore was also approved. Around 5000 hectares of land which had becomes useless prior to construction of project now has been reclaimed under this project.
The State Government has proposed to carry the channelization work of remaining portion in third phase from Santokhgarh Bridge up-to Punjab Border and Gagret Bridge by spending Rs. 48.59 crore. This will re-claim about 478 hectare of land. It has been proposed to provide earthen embankments with wire crated stone pitching and wire crated apron of 2.50 kilometers on left and 4.20 Kilometres on right bank of Swan River downstream Santokhgarh Bridge up-to Himachal Pradesh boundary.
The present Government was making concerted efforts for commencing fourth Phase of the Project, which was under active consideration of Government of India. The project was in the pipe line and it has been proposed to channelize the main Swan River from Daulatpur Bridge to Gagret Bridge having length of 9.50 km. including channelization of all the 73 tributaries with a cost of Rs. 945.49 crore and re-claim agriculture land measuring 6072 hectares. The entire project would re-claim about 14000 hectare of land in the district. This would bring prosperity in the entire district and diversified farming activities would get boost there by generating income avenues and employment and self-employment to local populace.
Article is taken from HP Govt’s PR website