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Hirakud Dam: The Longest Earthen Dam in the World and its Impact on the Environment

 Hirakud Dam

Hirakud Dam is a major earthen dam on the Mahanadi River in the Indian state of Odisha. It is the longest earthen dam in the world, measuring 25.8 kilometres (16.0 miles) in length. The dam was constructed between 1946 and 1957 and was one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects undertaken in India after independence.

History of Hirakud Dam:

The idea of building a dam on the Mahanadi River was first proposed in the early 19th century. However, it was not until the 1940s that the Indian government began to seriously consider the project. In 1946, the government appointed a committee to study the feasibility of the dam. The committee's report, which was submitted in 1949, recommended that the dam be built.

Construction of the dam began in 1946 and was completed in 1957. The dam was built at a cost of Rs. 1,000 million (equivalent to approximately $1.2 billion in 2023).

Construction of Hirakud Dam:

The construction of Hirakud Dam was a massive undertaking. The dam was built using earth, concrete, and masonry. The earth for the dam was excavated from the surrounding area. The concrete for the dam was made from limestone and sand that were also excavated from the surrounding area. The masonry for the dam was made from bricks that were manufactured at a brick kiln that was built specifically for the project.

The construction of the dam was challenging. The site of the dam is located in a remote area of Odisha. The terrain was difficult, and the climate was hot and humid. The workers who built the dam faced many challenges, including malaria, snakebites, and accidents.

Benefits of Hirakud Dam:

Hirakud Dam provides a number of benefits to the people of Odisha and India. The dam helps to control floods, generate hydroelectric power, and provide irrigation water for agriculture.

  • Flood control: Hirakud Dam is one of the most effective flood control structures in India. The dam has prevented billions of dollars in damage from floods.
  • Hydroelectric power: Hirakud Dam is one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in India. The dam generates approximately 1,450 megawatts of electricity.
  • Irrigation water: Hirakud Dam provides irrigation water for over 1 million hectares of land in Odisha. The dam has helped boost agricultural production in the state.

Challenges of Hirakud Dam:

Hirakud Dam also has a number of challenges. The dam has caused environmental problems, and it has also been the site of several accidents.

  • Environmental problems: Hirakud Dam has caused a number of environmental problems. The dam has led to the submergence of large areas of land, which has displaced thousands of people. The dam has also caused waterlogging and salinity problems in the surrounding areas.
  • Accidents: Hirakud Dam has been the site of several accidents. In 1996, a section of the dam collapsed, killing over 1,000 people. In 2007, a train derailed on a bridge over the dam, killing over 100 people.

Future of Hirakud Dam:

The future of Hirakud Dam is uncertain. The dam is now over 60 years old, and it is showing signs of wear and tear. The government of India is considering a number of options for the future of the dam, including rehabilitating the dam, building a new dam, or decommissioning the dam altogether.

The Impact of Hirakud Dam on the Environment:

Hirakud Dam has had a significant impact on the environment of the Mahanadi River basin. The dam has caused a number of environmental problems, including:

  • Submergence of land: The dam has submerged large areas of land, displacing over 100,000 people. The submerged land was home to a variety of forests, grasslands, and agricultural fields. The loss of this habitat has had a negative impact on the local wildlife.
  • Waterlogging: The dam has caused waterlogging in the surrounding areas. Waterlogging can lead to the salinization of soil, which can make it difficult to grow crops.
  • Salinity: The dam has also caused salinity problems in the surrounding areas. Salinity can make it difficult to grow crops and can also lead to the death of fish.
  • Pollution: The dam has also caused pollution in the Mahanadi River. The dam releases wastewater from the city of Sambalpur into the river. This wastewater contains a variety of pollutants, including sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural runoff.
  • Climate change: The dam has also been linked to climate change. The dam has caused the local climate to become warmer and drier. This has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts.

Hirakud Dam as a Tourist Destination:

Hirakud Dam is a popular tourist destination. The dam offers a number of activities for visitors, including:

  • Sailing: Visitors can enjoy sailing on the reservoir behind the dam.
  • Fishing: The reservoir is home to a variety of fish, and visitors can enjoy fishing.
  • Bird watching: The dam is home to a variety of birds, and visitors can enjoy bird watching.
  • Picnicking: There are a number of picnic spots on the banks of the reservoir. Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner while taking in the views of the dam.
  • Hiking: There are a number of hiking trails in the area. Visitors can enjoy hiking in the hills and forests surrounding the dam.

How to Reach Hirakud Dam:

Hirakud Dam is located in the Sambalpur district of Odisha. The nearest airport is the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar. The nearest railway station is Sambalpur Junction. Visitors can also reach Hirakud Dam by road.

Conclusion:

Hirakud Dam is a major landmark in Odisha. The dam has had a significant impact on the environment in the Mahanadi River basin. However, the dam also provides a number of benefits to the people of Odisha and India. The dam helps to control floods, generate hydroelectric power, and provide irrigation water for agriculture. Hirakud Dam is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, such as sailing, fishing, bird watching, picnicking, and hiking.

FAQs

Q. hirakud dam on which river and state?

A: The Hirakud Dam is located on the Mahanadi River in the state of Odisha, India.

Q: On which river is Hirakud Dam located?

A: Hirakud Dam is located on the Mahanadi River in the Indian state of Odisha.

Q: How many gates does Hirakud Dam have?

A: Hirakud Dam has a total of 74 gates, out of which 60 are used for irrigation and 14 are used for flood control.

Q: What is the length of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam is 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) long.

Q: In which state is Hirakud Dam located?

A: Hirakud Dam is located in the Indian state of Odisha.

Q: What are the benefits of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam provides flood control, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. It also helps to improve the water quality of the Mahanadi River.

Q: What are the challenges of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam has been affected by sedimentation, which has reduced its capacity to store water. The dam has also had a negative impact on the environment, as it has blocked the migration of fish and other wildlife.

Q: Where is Hirakud Dam located on the map of India?

A: Hirakud Dam is located in the eastern part of India, in the state of Odisha. It is located on the Mahanadi River, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the city of Sambalpur.

Q: What is the height of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam is 60 meters (200 feet) high.

Q: When was Hirakud Dam built?

A: Hirakud Dam was built between 1946 and 1957. It was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1957.

Q: What is the purpose of Hirakud Dam?

A: The purpose of Hirakud Dam is to control floods, generate hydroelectric power, and provide irrigation.

Q: How many people were displaced by the construction of Hirakud Dam?

A: It is estimated that about 100,000 people were displaced by the construction of Hirakud Dam.

Q: What are the environmental impacts of Hirakud Dam?

A: The environmental impacts of Hirakud Dam include the loss of wetlands and forests, the increase in the salinity of the water in the Mahanadi River, and the erosion of the river banks.

Q: What are the social impacts of Hirakud Dam?

A: The social impacts of Hirakud Dam include the displacement of people, the loss of agricultural land, and the increase in the risk of malaria and other diseases.

I hope this answers your questions about Hirakud Dam.

Q. What are the benefits of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam provides a number of benefits to the people of Odisha and India. The dam helps to control floods, generate hydroelectric power, and provide irrigation water for agriculture.

Q. What are the challenges of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam also has a number of challenges. The dam has caused environmental problems, and it has also been the site of several accidents.

Q. What is the future of Hirakud Dam?

A: The future of Hirakud Dam is uncertain. The dam is now over 60 years old, and it is showing signs of wear and tear. The government of India is considering a number of options for the future of the dam, including rehabilitating the dam, building a new dam, or decommissioning the dam altogether.

Q. What are the environmental impacts of Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam has had a significant impact on the environment of the Mahanadi River basin. The dam has caused a number of environmental problems, including:

  • Submergence of land
  • Waterlogging
  • Salinity
  • Pollution
  • Climate change

Q. Is Hirakud Dam a popular tourist destination?

A: Yes, Hirakud Dam is a popular tourist destination. The dam offers a number of activities for visitors, including:

  • Sailing
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking

Q. How can I reach Hirakud Dam?

A: Hirakud Dam is located in the Sambalpur district of Odisha. The nearest airport is the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar. The nearest railway station is Sambalpur Junction. Visitors can also reach Hirakud Dam by road.

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