In the last nearly 350 weeks of our uninterrupted publication, we might have published more than 20 thematic issues on various subjects concerning Kashmir, its people, ecology, politics, economy and the institutions. But our newsroom takes pride in admitting the fact that this particular publication, in your hands, proved a challenging one. It took us nearly three months to conceive and implement it. Normally, our thematic issues are barely a fortnight long exercise. We had to shuttle between Srinagar and Chanderkote, the small highway village that is the new address to J&K’s energy miseries, collecting data, checking and cross-checking with the experts.
For obvious reasons, 900-MW Baglihar power station is historic. Not only because J&K state does not own any project as huge as is it, across the sectors, but also because it is the new temple of growth and power. Never ever in state’s history has any project been as challenging as Baglihar was. And it is also happening for the first time that a project is being written about in such a detail.
Subsequent pages will explain the importance of profiling Baglihar to the extent that a complete special issue is dedicated to it. This special publication is aimed at informing our readers that while shortage of power and frequency of load-shedding is so easy to explain, how difficult is it, for J&K, to hunt for answers and manage a solution. J&K had to fight every single inch on multiple fronts to make it happen.
Baglihar is a rear achievement and it has fetched J&K a sound base for growth and improvement on energy front. J&K politicians usually accused of being myopic, have done something impressive for which history will remember them. This project is the outcome of decades of frustration and exploitation of J&Ks water resources. That is perhaps why even commoners feel they had an emotional investment in Baglihar.
Understanding the significance of Baglihar, Kashmir Life dedicates this issue to countless engineers from diverse nationalities, bankers, diplomats, policy makers and tens of thousands of skilled and unskilled labour force who fought literally against the nature and gave J&K, its most precious possession. For J&K, Baglihar indicates light at the end of that dark haunting tunnel which had terrified many generations in the past. This is beginning of a new empowerment.
Baglihar witnessed three regime-shifts at the state level, its chief engineers changed nine times and its owner, the SPDC had its Managing Director replaced almost every year in last 15 years. But there was one person who was around since January 2000, recording almost every change that took place in the narrow gorge – journalist Masood Hussain, Kashmir’s own storyteller, who has reported the politics of economics for a very long time. This special publication is the outcome of his painstaking research and records.
To put it on record, our designing section faced a much tough task in selecting the best shots. KL’s Bilal Bahadur, who has been a Baglihar pilgrim for a long time, has more than 5000 shots in his library.