North Koel River

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For river draining West Singhbhum, see South Koel River.
North Koel River
Country India
State Jharkhand
 - left Auranga River, Amanat River, Burha River
Cities Netarhat, Daltonganj
Landmarks Betla National Park, Kutku Gorge
Mouth Son River
 - location Haidarnagar
 - coordinates 24°31′51″N 83°52′38″E / 24.53083°N 83.87722°E / 24.53083; 83.87722Coordinates: 24°31′51″N 83°52′38″E / 24.53083°N 83.87722°E / 24.53083; 83.87722
Length 260 km (162 mi)

North Koel River flows through the Indian state of Jharkhand.


The North Koel rises on the Ranchi plateau and enters Palamau division, below Netarhat near Rud. After flowing nearly due west for about 32 kilometres (20 mi), it turns north at an almost complete right angle through a gorge at Kutku, and flows through the centre of the district until it falls into the Son a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar.[1]

From its source to its junction with the Son its length is about 260 kilometres (160 mi), and since it drains a catchment area of at least 9,100 square kilometres (3,500 sq mi), it naturally contributes a large supply of water to the Son during the rains; at other times the stream is not deep enough to enable cargo boats of even small dimensions to make their way up to Daltonganj. In many places the reaches of this river present scene of great beauty and sometimes even of grandeur, such as the rocky bed and rapids north of Hutar and the gorge at Kutku.[1]

Mention may be made of the metamorphic rocks which form the watershed between the North Koel and the Damodar to the west of the Chandwa-Balumath road.[1]

The North Koel, along with its tributaries, meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.[2]


The principal tributaries are the Auranga and the Amanat, both of which join it from the east, the former at Kechki, 16 kilometres (10 mi) south and the latter 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of Daltonganj.[1] Another tributary is the Burha, which joins the North Koel above Kutku at Bagechampa.[3]

North Koel Project[edit]

The North Koel project is being implemented at Mandal near Kutku. The project has a 64.82-metre (212.7 ft) high dam, from which water will be released for picking up by the Mohammadganj Barrage and Indrapuri Barrage. This Dam will be known as Kutku Dam. Hydro-electric power generation would be 2 x 12 MW.[4][5] The project would flood 15 villages, of which 5 are within the Palamau Tiger Reserve.[6]

In 1974, this project was started promising to irrigate 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) of farmlands of Palamu, Latehar, Garhwa of Jharkhand as well as of Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad and Arawal of neighbouring Bihar.

The spectacular dam over North Koyel River is said to have had completed 90% of its work in 1989 when it stopped following killing of Baidhyanath Jha, Additional Chief Engineer. The majestic dam has height of 67.86 meters and length 278 meters. Nine gates have to be stalled and most of the turbines were brought to the place. Unfortunately, the entire setup and resources have vanished now, leaving the entire township a deserted and devastated look.


Nevertheless, out of 634 families of 17 submerged villages, a majority of 555 have been paid compensation. The project besides, irrigating dried land, also ought to generate 24 MW hydro power. But the inordinate delay has also escalated the cost where about 150 crore is already spent.

After the deafening silence for so long, the recent push has come following the efforts of MPs from Chatra Sunil Singh, Palamu’s VD Ram and of Aurangabad, Gaya and Jehanabad. The concerted effort has brought Bihar in agreement on reducing height of the dam by four meters. “Bihar Government has agreed to it and this would reduce submerged area by 860 hectares by bringing it to 51136 hectares,” said an official of Water Resources Department, adding that catchment area would go up to 128 km.


  1. ^ a b c d "Gazetteer of Palamu District". Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  2. ^ "Betla National Park". Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  3. ^ "River System" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  4. ^ "Projects in Jharkhand". North Koel Hydroelectric Project. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  5. ^ "Inter State Issues". North Koel Project. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  6. ^ "Project Tiger Reserves in India". Palamu Tiger Reserve. Retrieved 2010-04-29.