Academic journal article Political Economy Journal of India

The Multipurpose Hirakud Reservoir-A Symbiotic Analysis of Fresh Look after Fifty Years

Academic journal article Political Economy Journal of India

The Multipurpose Hirakud Reservoir-A Symbiotic Analysis of Fresh Look after Fifty Years

Article excerpt

Introduction

It is certain that societies are going to confront, among other things, demographic transitions, geographical shift of population, technological advancement, growing globalization, degradation of the environment and emergence of water scarcities. Water, the bare needs of life, is likely to pose the greatest challenge on account of an increased demand with population rise and economic development and shrinking supplies due to over-exploitation and pollution. Although, water is abundant and renewable natural resource covering two third of the planate, a very small proportion of this effectively available for human use (Shaban and Sharma, 2007).

Presently the total of water available in our planet has remained the same, century after century, whereas the use of water has been increasing consistently during the 1st fifty years. Although, two thirds of our planet is covered by water, 97 percent of it is sea water, while two percent is locked up in the polar icecaps and less than one percent (0.69) water is accessible for human use only. It is available to us in an uneven manner in various sources of water bodies like rivers stream, lakes and at underground level. There exists an imbalance between supply and demand for water in various parts of the planet.

The American standard of water and electricity consumption can not be a criterion for development all over the world. It would be possible to provide to all Indians even the fraction of power and water consumption available in the US and Europe, even if we dam all our rivers, cut all the forest and destroy fertile lands. Therefore, the unbridled consumption and luxury of the few would have to be contained-either at the policy level through various political-Social devices or through voluntary acceptance of modest life style. Gandhi aptly commented that the "Earth has enough to satisfy the need of all, but not greed of one person". A moderate life-style does not mean the "economic of poverty" or the denial of variety and enrichment. It simply means the enjoyment of what is available to the extent, it is available for all (Sangvai, 2007).

The west invented the modern world and is its historical bearer. Not surprisingly, modernization and westernization have for the first few decades, become synonymous term .... while modernization has been a force for good in Third world and has brought in some of the expected economic, political and other advantages. It has also revealed its ugly side. It has failed to produce the much vaunted trickle down effect to reduce vast economic and social inequalities and to empower the poor (Parekh, 1995). Following the ideas of modernization, the post independent Indian went with the Nehruvian ideas of mega projects like large dams, heavy industries, where public sectors assigned a crucial role for transforming India into a self-sustained one. Though Nehru's personal charisma acted as a great shock-absorber and deflected sources of tension, it was clear that troubles were being stored for the future (Parekh, 1995).

The Mega Project

The Mahanadi has been dammed at HIRAKUD, the confluence of river Mahanadi and river IB. The dam connects two hills on either side-the lum Dunguri in the left and the Chandli Dungri in the right. The dam is flanked by Km. long earthen dykes both on left and right sides to close the low suddles beyond the abutment hills. It has the distinction of being the largest dam project in the world, a total of 25.8 Kilometers long taking the dam and dykes together. Another rare distinction attached to it is by forming the largest artificial lake in Asia with its reservoir spreading over 743 sq. kilometers at full reservoirs. This first post independent large multi-purpose river valley project in Orissa was flagged off with the laying up the foundation stone on 12th April, 1948 by Jawaharlal Nehru (of course for the second time). The project was inaugurated formally by Nehru on 13th January 1957. …

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