Ranjit Sagar Dam near Pathankot
Ranjit Sagar Dam, built across River Ravi, is located at a distance of 17 Km from Pathankot city. It is part of a gigantic hydroelectric project involving three states namely - Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu-Kashmir. The entire project is spread over a total area of 87.00 Sq Km and is often referred as the Thein Dam Project.
History of Ranjit Sagar DamRanjit Sagar Dam was not built in a day. In fact, it took almost half a century to complete. The feasibility study began as early as in 1953. However, a dispute with Pakistan over the water sharing process stalled the project for some time. Fortunately, Indus Water Sharing Treaty, which was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, gave India the exclusive right over the water of Ravi. Consequently a scheme for optimum utilization of water was drawn up by the Government.
However, it took another twenty years to complete the geo-technical studies. The work on the Ranjit Sagar Dam near Pathankot began in 1981. Although the dam itself was completed in 1998 at the cost of Rs. 6,800 crores, it remained underutilized for some time. That is because Shahpur Kandi Project, which was a part of Ranjit Sagar Dam and was designed to house the power station, was yet to be completed. However, the generators were commissioned in the year of 2000 and the whole project was completed by 2001.
Salient Features of Ranjit Sagar Dam
- Ranjit Sagar Dam is India’s highest earth-cum-gravel shell dam.
- It has a normal reservoir level of 527.91 m.
- Maximum height of the dam is 160.00 m.
- Area at the top of the dam is 617.00m X 14.00 m
- The reservoir of the dam has a catchment area of 6086 of Sq Km.
- The reservoir has been designed to hold 3,280,000,000 m3 of water. However, the active capacity of the dam is 2,344,000,000 cubic meters.
- The diameter of the penstock, which controls the water flow, is the largest in India.
- With 4X150 MW capacities, its turbine is said to be second largest in India.
- The dam has a capacity of producing 600 mega watt of power
Impact of the Dam on the Life of the PeopleIt can be safely said, that Ranjit Sagar Dam has brought immense benefit to the people of this region and has improved their life to a large extent. The water that accumulates in the reservoir is used for the dual purpose of irrigation and power generation. The electricity produced by the dam not only benefits the farmers of the region, but also the people at large.
Apart from that, the project has been able to stop the flash floods that almost became a characteristic of this region. Indeed, the undulating and sub-mountainous features of the land along with numerous seasonal streams that flow through this area gave rise to several flash floods throughout the rainy season. The river valley project has been able not only to stop that, but also to channelize the water for better use.
The agriculture of this area has been the greatest beneficiary of this project. Earlier farmers had to depend upon rains for irrigation purposes. Since the monsoon season lasts only for two and half months, the farmers could not utilize the land to the fullest. Ranjit Sagar Dam along with its canal system has been able to provide irrigation facilities to a large number of farmers throughout the year.
Tourism at Ranjit Sagar Dam Area
Ranjit Sagar Dam, located close to Pathankot city, also has great tourist potential. The lake and the surrounding hills offer a beautiful view and also an opportunity for adventure sports. Swimming and boating in the lake is a favorite past time of the visitors here. Moreover, during the migratory season, birds from far away lands come here to nest. Consequently, during that period, ornithologists from all over India assemble here for watching those lovely creatures and also to study their habits.
Moreover, with a municipal garden nearby, it offers a great opportunity for a day’s outing to the tourists and locals alike. Some places of tourist interest such as Shapur Kandi Fort, Mahakaleshwa Temple, Dera Baba Nanak and Gurudwara Shri Singh Sabha are located close by and hence visitors to the dam can also take time to visit them.