The only person that knows the exact address of the power house in Poonch is the postman because he delivers letters to the residents in the ‘Mohalla Power House’. For locals the erstwhile power station was an indicator of Poonch’s progress and the glory when it was an autonomous principality. A Kashmir Life report.
“Our Raja was a relative of the Dogra Mahrajas’ but they never kept a good relation,” said lawyer Imtiaz Banday. “When Partap Singh commissioned the Mohra power house, he had invited our Raja to Srinagar and that infuriated our ruler who commissioned the same company to install this power station.”
Not much of the record is available right now. Very senior engineers said it was commissioned well before Hari Singh succeeded his uncle. Its installed capacity was around 98 KW and worked on Turgo impulse turbine with primitive technologies. Its water conductor running parallel to the Uri-Poonch road was getting water from Haji Pir mountain range apparently from the roaring Betar nalla (stream).
Post partition in 1970’s the supplies dried up and two engineers followed the conductor and actually landed up on the other side of the LoC. It was after negotiations between the two sides that they were permitted to return. One of the engineers has expired. The project went into disuse and very recently was sold in scrap, according to Banday. Now the tank, overlooking the town that fed the erstwhile turbine has been converted into an artificial seasonal pond for kids to play with small boats. “It is our heritage and it is lost,” regretted Banday. Local power department officials operate from the erstwhile power house building.
Restoring Haveli station might be a far fetched dream but the Power Development Corporation is reviving the Kheora station in neighbouring Rajouri. Set up in 1964, the station would get 25 cusecs of discharge from Darhali nalla through a 6.2-km channel to run two units of 300-KW Kaplan type turbine. Even when one of its units is not functional, the other operational unit feeds the essential hospital service line and earns Rs 35 lakh a year. The new DPR suggests it would require only Rs 1.67 crore for repairs and the process could be over within 13 months and the water availability can go up to 45 cusecs that might increase the generation.