Trip to Mohra: part 2

Near Mohra - river 2The river Jhelum does not look exciting here and there is little to suggest how impressive.. are the mountainous sides. It’s hazy and the sky ordinary. I am at the end of the 1966 Power Station that Indians built with some European engineers and equipment; it’s just a simple box building some 400′ upstream from the 1908 building and on the water’s edge. There are several large signs saying in effect ‘water level increases suddenly’ and ‘do not cross’. The huge sluice gates upstream can let go vast quanties of water, the scoured river banks attest to this.

Old workshops - upper plant 380 year old plant-worker









A few flimsy rusty weatherbeaten buildings lie between the two stations and no one seems to know what they were for. Probably they were used for light engineering and ancillary work; there is a sort of elegant decay about them. This likewise weatherbeaten 80 year-old man tells us a bit about the power station and that he used to work there as a labourer until it closed.

Turbine Hall - interior 2

The inside is impressively utilitarian, nothing about the building is unecessary, no frippery here. It was built to do a job until the floods caused it to become defunct from 1992. The travelling crane is marked “20 TON” and “Herbert Morris England”. Since the visit I have learnt the Herbert Morris were crane manufacturers based at Loughborough in England and distributed worldwide. They were in business from 1857 to 1969. The massive generator was made by Ganz of Budapest. The firm was founded in 1844 and a branch turned to specialising in generators in 1878. As with many successful engineering companies it expanded, divided, merged etc. and was certainly a big player at the time this station was built. Post Partition India was determined to go for the best.

Turbine Hall - Ganz turbine and crane


Turbine Hall - flume pipe entry

This is pure self-indulgence. I love large pieces of engineering equipment. The illustration above shows nothing new as I have explained who made what and generally transformers look much the same to me. But what about the image on the left? This shows the end of the penstop after water has dropped 430 ft. and is diverted into the turbine. The thickness of the plates and the size and frequency of the bolts gives some clue as to the internal forces that the kinetic energy gained through the flume of six miles and the gravitational force from the reservoir has generated and must be controlled.

There is still talk of conserving this extraordinary historical project. I hope to see the day.

Postscript. The State elections were imminent at Uri when we visited on 16th November. On 5th December several newspapers reported that terrorists had attacked the Army Camp at Mohra around 3.10 am. The final count of deaths as far as I know is: 8 Army personnel, 3 State policemen and 6 militants. Two Kalashnikovs were stamped ‘PAK’ and infiltration is being investigated.

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