NEVER GIVE UP!... 18th February 2015

Last time we had told you about the problems we had with the second lot of PVC pipes (Plan B, after the first lot had to be rejected) and had mentioned an ‘ambitious’ plan we were about to embark upon. Well, that ambitious plan finally succeeded, though bit late in the winter season… and after many ups and downs of course.

When even the plan B of laying smaller 4” dia pipes was not looking reliable… we had no choices left in Ladakh as the roads were all closed. We had to think out of the box (read Ladakh) as we could not afford to fail in this attempt.

It was not just that we could not afford to fail…with roughly 22 lakh rupees (USD 37,000) already blocked in two types of PVC pipes alone, we could not afford to buy more pipes either.

So we thought of and attempted something that normally anybody would turn down as too far-fetched or impossible. But we learnt that one has to be positive, hopeful and never say never. We wrote to Jain Irrigation (JI) a pioneering company that makes high quality plastic pipes for high-tech irrigation systems that Sonam Wangchuk happened to visit recently in Jalgaon during a trip to Maharashtra. We requested them to donate us 2.3 Kilometers of 3” HDPE Pipe rolls. Simultaneously we requested the Indian Air Force station in Leh to help us with airlifting of these rolls (assuming JI would agree to donate) from Chandigarh to Leh.

We told you how overwhelmingly supportive everyone has been with this project… both the company and the Air Force agreed, and readily so. The district administration lead by the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Simrandeep Singh helped us immensely with the documents for this process

and finally the 2,300 meter of HDPE pipe in nine rolls weighing 4,000 kilograms, arrived here a week later. Of course there were several flight cancellations due to weather conditions. And for this part student leaders Morup Dorje, Thinles Dorje and few other volunteers in Chandigarh helped immensely in coordinating the passage through that city.

We then had the support of the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre which sent roughly 60 soldiers to unroll and lay the pipes. Finally then all the villagers of Phyang came out to bury the pipes in the trench.

However our worries were far from over still. Twice the whole length of the pipe froze solid and got blocked due to inadequate soil cover to protect it from the frost. This was because we had to leave space in the trench for an experimental mud pipe (will explain later) to go on top of the buried plastic pipes. So we had to take the new pipes out in the sun again and take out all the ice rods as they melted and then re-lay the pipe again.

Finally 3 days ago it all worked and water reached the stupa site from the Phyang tokpo stream. Until now we were using the drinking water line from the monastery to lay the base of the first stupa.