Indira Gandhi Canal

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The Indira Gandhi Canal is one of the biggest canal projects in India.

It starts from the Harike Barrage at Sultanpur, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Sutlej and Beas rivers in Punjab state.

Rajasthan Canal near Giddarbaha,Punjab.

Irrigation facilities to the north-western region of Rajasthan, a part of the Thar Desert. It consists of the Rajasthan feeder canal (with the first 167 km in Punjab and Haryana and the remaining 37 km in Rajasthan) and 445 km of the Rajasthan main canal which is entirely within Rajasthan.This canal enters into Haryana from Punjab near Lohgarh village of Haryana,then running in western part of district Sirsa it enters into Rajasthan near Kharakhera village (Tehsil:Tibbi,district:-Hanumangarh) of Rajasthan. The IGNP traverses seven districts of Rajasthan: Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Sriganganagar.

Sunset at IGC

The Green revolution in Rajasthan[edit]

a photo from a bridge near village Lohgarh(district:-Sirsa),where Indira Gandhi Canal enters from Punjab into Haryana
Rajasthan Canal(Indira Gandhi Canal) passing through Thar desert near Chhatargarh Bikaner district,Rajasthan

After the construction of the Indira Gandhi Canal, irrigation facilities were available over an area of 6770 km² in Jaisalmer district and 37 km² in Barmer district.Irrigation had already been provided in an area of 3670 km² in Jaisalmer district. The canal has transformed the barren deserts of this district into rich and lush fields. Crops of mustard, cotton, and wheat now flourish in this semi-arid north-western region replacing the sand there previously.

Improvement in living standard[edit]

Rajasthan Canal(Indira Gandhi Canal) flowing in Thar desert near Sattasar village, Bikaner district,Rajasthan

Besides providing water for agriculture, the canal will supply drinking water to hundreds of people in far-flung areas.

As the second stage of work on the canal progresses rapidly, there is hope that it will enhance the living standards of the people of the state.

Sand dune stabilization[edit]

The Indira Gandhi Canal is a major step in reclaiming the Thar Desert and checking desertification of fertile areas. There is a planting programme for greening the desert in areas near the Indira Gandhi Canal which was started in 1965. This consists of the planting of shelter belts along roads and canals, blocks of plantations and sand dune stabilization. The tree species being used for planting are Dalbergia sissoo, Eucalyptus terticornis, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Morus alba, Tecomella undulata, Acacia tortilis, Azadirachta indica, Albizia lebbeck, Cassia fistula, Popular ciliata, Melia azedarch, and Acacia nilotica.

Environmental problems[edit]

The excessive irrigation and intensification of agriculture over the years has caused environmental degradation and creation of new wastelands. There have been problems with water-logging caused by excessive irrigation, seepage from canals and poor drainage. These factors produced a rise in the water table, increased salinity and finally submergence of the land. These problems have been exacerbated by the cultivation of water intensive cash crops such as wheat and rice.

References[edit]

  • Anon. 1998. Statistical Abstract Rajasthan. Directorate of Economic and Statistics, Rajasthan, Jaipur
  • Balak Ram ,1999. Report on Wastelands in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan.CAZRI, Jodhpur
  • Kavadia, P.S. 1991. Problem of waterlogging in Indira Gandhi Nahar Project and outline of Action Plan to tackle it.
  • Singh, S. and Kar, A. 1997. Desertification Control - In the arid ecosystem of India for sustainable development. Agro-Botanical Publishers, Bikaner
  • Burdak, LR, 1982. Recent advances in Desert Afforestation, Dehradun