History Of Multi-Purpose River Valley Project Development In Indus Basin

The North-western region of the Indian sub-continent is the land of the Indus. Indeed from this river, India gets her name. The principal tributaries of the River Indus from west are the Rivers Kabul and the Kurrem; the five main tributaries from east are the Rivers the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj. The principal rivers of Indus system are all perennial. Its tributaries are more dependent on the monsoon rains. Most of the Indus Basin lies in India and Pakistan, and only about 13 percent of its total catchment is in Tibet and Afghanistan. Within India, the Indus Basin lies in the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Indus Water Treaty - 1960

With partition and emergence of the two independent political entities India and Pakistan, the sharing of Indus waters resulted in a dispute and became an International Issue. About 8 years of discussion and negotiations between Governments of India and Pakistan, carried out under the auspices of the World Bank, resulted in ‘Indus Waters Treaty’. Under this treaty, the waters of the three eastern rivers (the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj) would be for the exclusive use of India and waters of the three western rivers (the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab) for the exclusive use of Pakistan.

Development Projects after Independence

Bhakra–Nangal Dam project taken up in 1948 was so planned that early benefits of increased irrigation and power started accruing much ahead of the completion of the main dam at Bhakra in 1963. The irrigation channels were opened to the fields as early as 1954 and the first unit of Ganguwal Power Plant on the Bhakra Nangal grid started generation in 1955

The Master Plan was drawn to harness the waters of 3 rivers which came to India’s share after Indus Water Treaty. The Bhakra Dam, constructed across River Satluj, controlled the water of river Satluj for irrigation and power generation. The Beas was the next to be tackled through the Beas project, with Ravi through Thein Dam following soon after.

Beas Project

Unit-I, the Beas–Satluj Link, is essentially a power project and diverts 4711 million cum (3.82 MAF) of Beas waters at Pandoh, into the Satluj over 1000-feet drop. The Dehar Power House at this point has an installed capacity of 990 MW, the tail race waters then flows down the satluj and is stored in Bhakra's Gobindsagar Reservoir. The diversion from Pandoh to Dehar is through a 38 km long water conductor system comprising an open channel and two tunnels with a combined length of over 25 km. The total catchement area of Beas and Satluj is 12560 km2 and 56860 km2 respectively.

Unit-II of the Beas Project is the Pong Dam on the Beas, just before it enters the plains at Talwara, with a gross storage of 8572 million cum (6.95 MAF) behind a 435 feet earth-core gravel shell dam. The power plant at the base of the dam had an installed capacity of 360 MW.


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