Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Karakorum Highway’s famous “Tata Pani”: Natural or Human-induced Disaster?

By Karim Khan Saka

Pakistan is not the only country that has a “Tata Pani”; Nepal also owes a place which is known as “Tato Pani”.  Tata or Tato refers to “hot” in Shina language and pani means water, so Tata Pani means hot spring water.

In most of the developed world hot springs are managed by the states to form swimming pools for the tourists or healing pools for the patients but Tata Pani unfortunately is not managed for similar fine cause. Contrarily it is absolutely failure of an organization that claims to be the builder of Karakorum Highway.

Disasters, that occur due to the natural forces like; Earthquakes, Landslides, Tsunamis, Floods, Cyclones, Droughts and Volcanic eruptions are called natural disasters. These are beyond the human control but there are man-made disasters which occur as a result of carelessness, mismanagement and human negligence.

Human being has created more dangerous disaster tools on earth as compare to the natural ones. Wars, bombs, weapons, drugs, pollutions, destructive politics and countless similar hazards are man-made and they are more challenging to address in the present era.

The famous Karakorum Highway, which we claim to be the 8th wonder of the world, was built from 1959 to 1979 as a friendship Highway between China and Pakistan. It was repaired and expended recently keeping in view the future trade of CPEC.

Since 40 years the highway has seen minor climatic disasters and temporary blockages that have been resolved but “Tata Pani” is a sort of disaster that ever lasts the same.  It is all about a half kilometer road that can be replaced with a bridge and the KKH will be relieved forever.

It is funny but true that the Chinese and Pakistani Engineers have left Tata Pani unresolved on the KKH as the British Empire has left Kashmir unresolved between Pakistan and India.

The Tata Pani Bridge should be part of the CPEC development budget. It is sure that with the rapid climate changes CPEC trade will always suffer at Tata Pani if the bridge is not constructed.

On one hand Tata Pani is always heavy on the budget of G-B. If the government of Gilgit-Baltistan puts together the budget of past 40 years that has been spent on this half kilometer road, I am sure it will exceed the cost of several new bridges. In that case Tata Pani is a man-made disaster.

On the other hand Tata Pani is a disaster for the Tourism of Pakistan. Majority of tourists traveling on KKH are always afraid of the land sliding at Tata Pani. When the land sliding happens then tourists suffer because there are no facility, no food, and no shelter nearby.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan is requested to take stock of the Tata Pani situation and we hope that the government of Gilgit-Baltistan will make a proposal to the federal Government in this regard and this long lasted disaster will be addressed for the future success of CPEC as well as Tourism of G-B.

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