Hirakud Dam Sambalpur

Address : Sambalpur

City/District : Sambalpur

State : Odisha


Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 kilometres from Sambalpur in the state of Odisha in India. Behind the dam extends a lake, Hirakud Reservoir, 55 km long. It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects started after India's independence. It is India's longest dam.


Before the devastating floods of 1936, Sir M. Visveswararya proposed a detailed investigation for storage reservoirs in the Mahanadi basin to tackle the problem of floods in the Mahanadi delta. In 1945, under the chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Member of Labour, it was decided to invest in the potential benefits of regulating the Mahanadi for multi-purpose use. The Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission took up the work.[ On 15 March 1946, Sir Hawthorne Lewis, the Governor of Odisha, laid the foundation stone of the Hirakud Dam. A project report was submitted to the government in June 1947. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the first batch of concrete on 12 April 1948.

In 1952, Mazumdar Committee was appointed by the government to oversee the soundness and technical feasibility of the project. The committee has envisaged costs of ₹92.80 crore for the project and that the construction of the main dam would be complete by June 1955. It also said that by 1954–55 a total of 1,347,000 acres (545,000 ha) would be irrigated and that 48 GW of electric power would be generated. However, the dam was completed in 1953 and was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 January 1957. The total cost of the project was ₹1,000.2 million (equivalent to ₹81 billion or US$1.1 billion in 2019) in 1957. Power generation along with agricultural irrigation started in 1956, achieving full potential in 1966.

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