(Last Updated on : 19/08/2016)
is located in the Indian state
s of Jharkhand
and West Bengal
. Damodar has been derived from the Sanskrit
word dama meaning rope and udara meaning belly. Thus, the meaning of the word Damodar is rope around the belly. Damodar is another name of the Lord Krishna
, which was given to him as his foster-mother tied him to a large urn. It is also known as Damuda in a number of local dialects of Jharkhand. The word damu means holy, whereas da stands for water. Thus, the meaning of the word Damuda is holy water. The Damodar is considered to be one of the most important rivers in eastern India.
Geography of Damodar River
Globally, Damodar River can be pinpointed at coordinates 22 degrees 17 minutes north and 88 degrees 5 minutes east. The Damodar has a length of about 592 km (368 mi.). The average rate of discharge of the Damodar is about 10,500 cu ft/s.
Course of Damodar River
Chandwa, Latehar and Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand are recognized as the sources of Damodar River. Earlier, River Damodar flowed through West Bengal, following a straight west to east route to join the River Hooghly near Kalna. But its itinerary is known to be shifted. The river follows an easterly route to journey through Jharkhand and West Bengal to the estuary of the Hooghly River. This easterly route continues for a length of near about 592 km. In its lower plains, the water of the river is emptied into the Mundeswari River, which merges with other streams. But maximum volume of the river water enters the Rupnarayan River. The rest of the water flows south of Kolkata into the Hooghly River. Important cities of Jharkhand and West Bengal covered along the path of the river Damodar are Bokaro, Asansol, and Durgapur.
Tributaries of Damodar River
Barakar, Konar, Bokaro, Haharo, Jamunia, Ghari, Guaia, Khadia and Bhera are the different tributaries and sub tributaries of Damodar River. Out of these set of tributaries, the Barakar is considered to be the biggest tributary of the Damodar. It has its source near Padma in Hazaribagh district and runs through Jharkhand. Near Dishergarh in West Bengal it joins the Damodar. The Chota Nagpur Plateau is divided into three parts by the Barakar and the Damodar. Mountainous areas are traversed by these rivers with immense power destroying anything standing on their way. Two bridges were a victim of the powerful Barakar near Barhi in Hazaribagh district, on the Grand Trunk Road. These bridges are a huge rock bridge and an iron bridge. The former was destroyed in 1913, while the latter was destroyed in 1946.
Floods Caused by Damodar River
The Damodar is known to cause a natural disaster called floods. Different localities and urban settlements in Burdwan, Hooghly, Midnapur and Howrah districts are the places affected by it. It has also displayed the capacity to adversely affect the lives of the residents living in the lower Damodar basin in the past. It happened because the average yearly precipitation on the Chota Nagpur terrain is approximately 1400 mm, which almost entirely takes place in the monsoon season, between the months, June and August. Thus, during the monsoons River Damodar overflowed vehemently in the higher basins of the plateau. In the lower basins, the river flooded its banks and flooded other big localities nearby. This river was therefore earlier referred to as the Sorrow of Bengal.
Some of the terrible floods were caused by the Damodar in the following years- 1770, 1855, 1866, 1873-74, 1875-76, 1884-85, 1891-92, 1897, 1900, 1907, 1913, 1927, 1930, 1935 and 1943. In four of these floods (1770, 1855, 1913 and 1943) most of Bardhaman town was flooded.
In 1789, Maharaja Kirti Chand of Burdwan signed a contract with the East India Company. Accordingly, the Maharaja had to pay an extra sum of Rs. 193,721 for the purpose of building and maintaining river banks to control the floods. In the years 1866 and 1873, the Bengal Embankment Act came into being, according to which the authority to construct and preserve the river banks was passed to the administration.
The Damodar Valley is spread across Hazaribagh, Ramgarh, Koderma, Giridih, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Chatra districts in Jharkhand and Bardhaman and Hooghly districts in West Bengal and partially covers Palamu, Ranchi, Lohardaga and Dumka districts in Jharkhand and Howrah, Bankura and Purulia districts in West Bengal. It occupies an area of about 24,235 square kilometers (9,357 sq mi). The valley is called the Ruhr of India, because of its similarities with the Ruhr mining-industrial area of Germany. It is considered to be one of the most industrialized parts of India. Three integrated steel plants (Bokaro, Burnpur and Durgapur) of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and other factories are situated in this valley. This valley is rich in deposits of coal. Damodar Valley is considered to be the chief centre of coking coal in India. These deposits are found in large amount in its central basin covering an area of over 2,883 square kilometers (1,113 sq mi). The valley produces 60% of Indias medium grade coal. The important coalfields in the basin are Jharia, Raniganj, West Bokaro, East Bokaro, Ramgarh, South Karanpura and North Karanpura.
Damodar Valley Corporation
Several dams have been constructed in the Damodar Valley for the generation of hydroelectric power. The first dam was constructed across the Barakar River, a tributary of the Damodar River at Tilaiya in 1953. The second dam was built across the Konar River, another tributary of the Damodar River at Konar in 1955. Two dams across the rivers Barakar and Damodar were built at Maithon in 1957 and Panchet in 1958. Both the dams are about 8 kilometers (5 mi) upstream of the confluence point of the rivers. These four major dams are controlled by the Damodar Valley Corporation. Damodar Valley Corporation, also known as DVC, is a government organization which came into force on July 7, 1948, by an Act of the Constituent Assembly of India (Act No. XIV of 1948). It operates both thermal power stations and Hydel power stations under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, in the Damodar River area of West Bengal and Jharkhand. It is considered to be the first multipurpose river valley project of independent India. It is headquartered in the city of Kolkata in West Bengal and is modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority of the United States.
Threats to Damodar River
The Damodar River banks are known to be rich in mineral resources. Thus, it could be exploited by industrialists. As a result, a number of coal-oriented industries came up over the Damodar basin. Most of them are government-owned coke oven plants, coal washeries, iron and steel plants, glass, zinc, cement plants and thermal power plants. Contamination thus commenced due to excessive and defective excavation, outmoded processing activities, oil, fly ash, poisonous metals and coal dust. The problem was aggravated due to improper management, an ineffective state pollution control board, which did not take adequate pollution check measures. Damodar and its tributaries were the only source of drinking water for the people in the vicinity. These people were gradually affected by the contaminated water.
Water Resources in India
Dams in India