(Last Updated on : 14/07/2017)
Damodar River is located in the Indian states
and West Bengal
. The Damodar is considered to be one of the most important rivers in eastern India
. Mineral resources in the Damodar Valley have made it a large-scale mining and industrial center.
Etymology of Damodar River
The name of the river
has been derived from a Sanskrit
word; Dama means rope and udara means belly. Thus, the meaning of the word Damodar is rope around the belly. Damodar is another name of Lord Krishna
. This name was given to Him when his foster mother tied him to a large urn. The river 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.
Geology of Damodar River
Geology of Damodar River
relates to the concentrations of heavy metals and sediments at Damodar River site. It has been found that as the size of the sediments becomes finer, the concentration of heavy metals exhibit a tendency to increase.
Geography of Damodar River
Globally, Damodar River can be pinpointed at coordinates 22 degrees 17 minutes north and 88 degrees 5 minutes east. The river has a length of about 592 km (368 mi.). The average rate of discharge of the river is about 10,500 cu ft/s.
Course of Damodar River
and Chota Nagpur Plateau
in Jharkhand are recognized as the places of origin of Damodar River
. Damodar River flows through important cities of Jharkhand
) and West Bengal (Asansol
). Earlier, Damodar River flowed through West Bengal, following a straight west to east route to join the River Hooghly
. 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.
Tributaries of Damodar River
, Konar, Bokaro, Haharo, Jamunia, Ghari, Guaia, Khadia and Bhera are the different tributaries of Damodar River. Out of this set of tributaries, the Barakar is considered to be the biggest tributary of Damodar. It has its source near Padma
in Hazaribagh district
and runs through Jharkhand. Near Dishergarh in West Bengal, the Barakar joins the Damodar. The Chota Nagpur Plateau is divided into three parts by the Barakar and the Damodar. Mountain
ous 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
Damodar River is known to cause a natural disaster called floods
. Different localities and urban settlements in Burdwan
and Howrah district
are the places affected by it. These floods have 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, Damodar River overflowed vehemently in the higher basins of the plateau. In the lower basins, the river flooded its banks and flooded other big localities nearby. Therefore, Damodar River was 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, 1873-1874, 1875-1876, 1884-1885, 1891-1892, 1897, 1900, 1907, 1913, 1927, 1930, 1935 and 1943. In the years 1770, 1855, 1913 and 1943, most of the Bardhaman
town was flooded the river.
In 1789, Maharaja Kirti Chand of Burdwan signed a contract with the British East India Company
. Accordingly, the Maharaja had to pay an extra sum for the purpose of building and maintaining river banks to control 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.
Damodar Valley is spread across Hazaribagh
, Ramgarh, Koderma
and Chatra districts
in Jharkhand and Bardhaman and Hooghly districts in West Bengal. It partially covers Palamu
districts in Jharkhand and Howrah, Bankura
districts in West Bengal.
The valley occupies an area of about 24,235 square kilometers (9,357 sq mi). It 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 Steel Plant
, Burnpur Steel Plant and Durgapur
Steel Plant) 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 center of coking coal in India. These deposits are found in large amount in the central basin of the valley, covering an area of over 2,883 square kilometers (1,113 sq mi). The valley produces 60 percent of Indias medium grade coal. The important coalfields in the Damodar Valley basin are Jharia
, West Bokaro, East Bokaro, Ramgarh, South Karanpura and North Karanpura coalfields.
Dams of Damodar Valley Corporation
have been constructed in the Damodar Valley
for the generation of hydroelectric power
. Tilaiya Dam
has been constructed across Barakar River at Tilaiya in 1953. Konar Dam has been built across Konar River at Konar in 1955. Maithon Dam
has been constructed across Barakar River at Maithon in 1957 and Panchet Dam has been constructed across Damodar River in 1958. Maithon and Panchet dams are about 8 kilometers (5 mi) upstream of the confluence point of the rivers, Barakar and Damodar. 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
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 in the Damodar basin. Most of them are coal washeries and glass, zinc, cement
, thermal power
, iron and steel
and government-owned coke oven plants. Thus, contamination of Damodar River commenced due to excessive and defective excavation, outmoded processing activities, oil, fly ash, poisonous metals and coal dust. The problem aggravated due to improper management and an ineffective state pollution control board, which did not take adequate pollution check measures. Damodar River 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.