Bhakra dam is a concrete gravity dam and it is the second tallest dam in Asia after the Tehri dam of Uttarakhand. It has a height of 225.55 meters (740 feet) and is located at the border of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab states. Among the straight gravity dams of India, Bhakra dam is the highest dam. Bhakra-Nangal Dam project was one of the earliest river valley projects undertaken after independence by the government of India. The famous Gobind Sagar reservoir was formed by the Bhakra dam project.
Bhakra dam is situated on the Satluj River in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. Satluj or Shatadru River is the longest and easternmost tributary of the Indus river. This river rises in the Himalayas and flows down to meet Indus. Due to its importance in independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru described Bhakra dam on the Sutlej River as the “New Temple of Resurgent India”.
A Brief history of the Bhakra dam:
It was Sir Louis Dane who for the first time on 8th November 1908 proposed to build a storage reservoir on the Satluj River. However, due to the high estimated cost of the project, it was not started. The proposal for a dam on the Satluj was revived and project reports were prepared many times. Though the construction was started in the year 1948, the full-fledged construction activity to construct the Bhakra dam was initiated only after April 1952. Bhakra dam was completed and dedicated to the nation on 22nd October 1963 by the then prime minister of India. Nangal dam is a different dam which is also situated 13 kilometres downstream on the same Sutlej River in Punjab. Together they are referred to as the Bhakra-Nangal dam.
Features of Bhakra dam:
Asia’s second tallest dam Bhakra dam is built on the Satluj River and is 226 meters tall. Bhakra dam is a concrete gravity dam with a length of 518.25 meters. The Gobind Sagar reservoir formed with the Bhakra dam is the second largest reservoir in India in terms of storage capacity. The storage capacity of the Gobind Sagar dam is 9.340 cubic kilometres or 9.34 billion cubic meters. The largest dam reservoir (in terms of storage capacity) in India is the Indira Sagar dam built on the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh.
Benefits of Bhakra dam:
The most important usage of the Bhakra dam is for irrigation purposes. It was also intended to prevent floods in the Sutlej-Beas River valley region. The Bhakra dam stores the excessive water during the monsoon season and gradually releases it throughout the year. Hydroelectric generation is another benefit from this project. The installed hydroelectric capacity of Bhakra dam project is 1325 MW. . Bhakra dam also attracts a large number of tourists and has become a popular tourist spot for local people.
Management of Bhakra Dam:
From 1st October 1967, the administration, maintenance and operation of Bhakra Nangal Project was handed over to Bhakra Management Board (BMB) which was constituted under section 79 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. Later works of Beas Construction Board (BCB) were also transferred to Bhakra Management Board which was renamed to Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on 15th May 1976.
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