Vijayapura: The District Administration has decided to resume the project to revive and restore the ancient underground water system known as ‘Karez’ system in historic Vijayapura City.
The Karez system which was built during the Adil Shahi era that ruled Vijayapura City, is believed to be one of most intricately designed subterranean water systems of the world.
“We have decided to revive this ancient structure and to see that this tunnel can be developed as a tourism spot for the visitors,” said Deputy Commissioner P. Sunil Kumar. He said that in this regard, he visited the place recently with the officials of the Tourism Department and some heritage activists to explore the possibilities of reviving and restoring the tunnel.
He said that to start with, the Tourism Department would be asked to prepare a plan to restorate at least 400-metre-stretch of the long tunnel route.
“The area between Itagi petrol pump and District Government Hospital has been chosen. This stretch is believed to be in good condition to explore and to restore,” he said.
Sunil Kumar said that he would be soon visiting Bengaluru to meet the Tourism Secretary and submit the proposal seeking funds for the restoration of the five-century-old Karez system.
The Karez is a network of underground traditional water harnessing technology.
He said that the works will be taken up only after taking consent of the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI). If necessary, the restoration works will be given to ASI itself. The District Administration’s top priority will be to develop and promote the historical structures located in the District,” stressed DC Sunil Kumar.
According to the historians, Karez is a three-fold underground water networking system which was used to supply, store and harvest water for use of nearly 12 lakh people during the Adil Shahi dynasty. The ancient water system was developed by skilled Persian engineers in 16th century. Apart from Vijayapura the similar ancient Karez is also situated in Bidar, and these are the only two cities that have the ancient underground canal water system in the country.
With an aim to develop local tourism, when Congress leader and MLA M. B. Patil was the District Minister of Vijayapura that is, in 2015, he took initiative and assured of rejuvenating the ancient water system and developing it as ‘tunnel tourism’, which is a 4-km-long tunnel. But for various reasons including lack of funds, the project work could not be continued.
Peter Alexander, Heritage Activist, pointed out that, “This ancient tunnel has remained undeveloped because of lack of political will. The local elected members should take responsibility to develop such ancient structures. In order to achieve this, every department should work in coordination, even the public should cooperate for the authorities to restore Karez. The district should consider restoration work seriously because it will be a great asset for the local heritage, he said.