MANALI: The reservoir of a hydel project near here burst on Sunday morning during a trial run of filling it with water, causing panic in settlements downstream. The exercise was undertaken just a few days before the commissioning of the project at Aleo village.

A 4.8MW hydropower project, Aleo Manali Hydropower Pvt Ltd stage-II, being set up on Allain Nullah, is scheduled to start power generation by the end of this month. Sources said the project management had opened the inlet gates of the reservoir, which has capacity to store 12,000 cubic meter of water, on Saturday. A day later, around 10am, a huge chunk of the reservoir wall collapsed when it was filled to only 75% of its capacity. As the water breached embankment, levels in Allain stream and the Beas rose suddenly, causing panic among residents in Kullu and Bhuntar towns, some 50 kms from here.

An official of the project management said the reservoir was being filled on a trial basis, but a wall collapsed before it was filled to capacity. “We have suffered huge losses. The reasons for the incident are still unknown. About 95% work of the project has already been completed,” he said.

According to Manali sub-divisional magistrate Vinay Dhiman, the project management had not informed them about filling up the reservoir on trial basis. “It could have proved fatal for many. We are looking into the matter and those found guilty will be liable for legal action,” he said.

Vashisht panchayat pradhan Govardhan Thakur alleged that the project management had neither informed them of the filling of reservoir nor warned the public. Thakur Dass, pradhan of Prini village, located next to the project site, said the management should take extra care of the people and property in nearby villages.

Courtesy: Times of India

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