Emergence of Multipurpose River Valley Development in India

In November 1945, the first Indian Multipurpose Rivers Conference was held in Cuttack in the province of Orissa and resulted in the decision to build a major dam across the River Mahanadi. The multipurpose Hirakud Dam project for flood control, irrigation, and power generation was the first project of its kind in India and was modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States. The construction of the dam was finished in 1957 and the Hirakud Dam became the world’s longest earth dam. Despite having been a celebrated project of early independent India, it resulted in major changes of the region’s ecosystems, displacing more than 100,000 people during the course of its construction.

Further Readings: 
  • D'Souza, Rohan. “Damming the Mahanadi River: The Emergence of Multi-Purpose River Valley Development in India (1943-46).” Indian Economic & Social History Review 40 (January 2003): 81-105.