Indira Gandhi Canal

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2013

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I had heard so much about the Indira Gandhi Canal in Rajasthan so was keen to see it. From Koliyatji (i.e. 50 kms from Bikaner) we took some internal roads to reach the Canal. Was happy to see trees on both sides. Right of pic has side road. Wanted to drive on the side road but had an Indigo whilst what is reqd was a SUV.

As we drove along the tarred road was amazed to see the area so green and roads covered with trees. Weather so pleasant and enjoyable. "The Canal is a major step in reclaiming the Thar Desert and checking desertification of fertile areas."

What you saw in pic 1 was the main canal. At various points water is diverted for use in other locations. U see one such location. Structure u see is a pumping station. Since land is above usual level the water pressure has to be increased for it to flow forward hence the pumping station. If solar panels were fixed on top of the canal as is done in Gujarat it would prevent evaporation of water and generate power as well.

After driving on the road for a few kms we saw this mini-dam. It has gates from where the flow of water is controlled. "Indira Gandhi Nahar Project was designed to utilise 9,367 Mm3/yr of the total 10,608 Mm3/yr allocated to Rajasthan from the surplus waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers."

From that mini-dam water is diverted through this small canal to villages kms away. It dawned on me how the waters of the canal has impacted lives of the people, provides water for drinking and agriculture. Per Wikipedia "the part of the canal ie in Rajasthan is 445 kms long. The IGNP traverses seven districts of Rajasthan: Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Sriganganagar."

Village close the canal. Where there is water, there is prosperity. Can u believe you are in a part of Rajasthan where most of it is desert wasteland land. Other benefits of canal are "improvement in micro-climate and decrease in incidence of sand-storms, rise in ground water table. But excessive use of canal water in some areas is causing water logging and salinity".

Close to the mini-dam saw this group of school children, boys and girls, who wanted themselves photographed. Kids were full of energy. Nand Kishore Ram who has been working at this site for thirty years said that before the canal there was hardly any development, income levels lower. But things have now changed for the better.

Another big green patch close to the canal. Can you believe this is an area close to Bikaner where there is only desert wasteland. The Forest Dept have created a mini forest on the other side of the road. I saw a deer there, wanted to click but too quick for me, the slightest noise and they run away.

Another green patch. After a point the green patch stops, it is barren land and sand all the way. It took us about 1 hour to reach a place, Bap, where a huge number of solar plants have been set up.

This is the road from the canal to Bap. Note the terrain. I only drove through small parts of the canal which looked impressive. This link takes u to an article which says the canal has not delivered Click here

This section of the Indira Gandhi Canal is near Jaisalmer ie atleast 250 kms away from the earlier canal that u saw. The canal serves different purposes. One, it brings water to the border areas which in turn improves the quality of life and has the potential to enhance rural incomes. In border areas a happy and content local population is always a advantage. Two, in case of a war with Pakistan it forces the enemy''s tanks to stop, build a bridge and then proceed. Whilst doing this the enemy loses valuable time.

Another view of the green fields. I just loved them so much. Visit made me realize the importance of WATER. Yet number of us do not value and waste it. To know more about the canal project Click here