2nd Five Year Plan
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Chapter 17:

Water Resources

The integrated development of the water and land resources of the country is of fundamental importance to its economy and programmes for achieving this have a high priority. As the First Five Year Plan has pointed out, the utilisation of the water resources has to be planned on a national basis.

2. The total river water resources in India were computed a few years ago at 1356 million acre feet. Investigations for an accurate assessment of water resources have begun and will continue during the second five year plan. The river flow that can be used for irrigation depends on topography, flow characteristics, climate, and soil conditions of the region, and differs from river to river. Of the available supplies, it is estimated that approximately 450 million acre 'feet could be put to beneficial use.

3. Only about 76 million acre feet had, however, been utilised upto 1951. This represented only 5.6 per cent of the river flow in the country. Additional supplies will, however, be utilised by the project? taken up in the first plan, as a result of which the percentage of water used will rise to 10 in 1956. The position in regard to utilisation of water resources in the important river basins will approximately be as set out below:—

  River System Estimated average flow Utilisation upto 1951 Additional Utilisation by projects entered in the I Plan (on full development) Additional Utilisation by projects entered in the n Plan (on full development)
  1 2 3 4 5
(Figures in million acre feet)
1. Indus 168 8.0 11.00 1.2
2. Ganga 400 20.0 21.5 14.5
3. Brahmputra . 300 nil nil nil
4. Godavari 84 12.0 1.0 1.5
5. Mahanadi 84 0.6 10.5 0.2
6. Krishna 50 9.0 15.6 2.6
7. Narmada 32 0.2 nil 10.1
8. Tapti 17 0.2 0.7 3.5
9. Cauvery 12 8.0 1.3 0.6

Large quantities of waters will still be available. A programme for planned development of these resources has, therefore, to be continued.

4. Substantial supplies are available from underground waters also. No inventory of these resources has been prepared so far, but as a result of the exploratory tubewells which have been taken up, reliable information in regard to sub-soil water resources for some of the regions in the country will become available. These waters would be utilised for irrigating areas which cannot be economically irrigated by canals or in areas which are susceptible to waterlogging where irrigation by tubewells is preferable to irrigation by canals.

Existing Development

5. Irrigation has been practised in India from ancient times. Efficient and extensive irrigation works were constructed during the nineteenth century on the Ganga and Jamuna in Uttar Pradesh, on the Ravi and Sutlej in the Punjab, on the Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery in Madras and on the Sone in Bihar. During the past few decades, further irrigation works were constructed on the Sutlej in Punjab, on the Betwa and Sarda in Uttar Pradesh, on the Mahanadi in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, on the Godavari in Bombay and Hyderabad, on the Krishna in Andhra and on the Cauvery in Mysore and Madras. Several large irrigation schemes were taken up under the first five year plan also, a number of them being multipurpose in character. In many cases, they involved construction of dams and reservoirs to store monsoon flows. Work is still in progress on some of the projects and most of it will be completed during the second plan. Statement I in the Annexure gives particulars of important' irrigation works in the country.

6. The land utilisation statistics for the country as
reported for 1954-55, are given below:—-

Million Acres (Approximate)
Gross area 811
Classified area 722
Forests 133
Not available for cultivation 122
Uncultivated land excluding fallows 95
Current fallows 28
Fallows other than current fallows 29
Net area sown 315
Culturable area 467
Cultivated area 343

Statement II in the Annexure shows important agricultural and irrigation statistics by States.

7. The area irrigated from all sources in 1950-51 was 51.5 million acres, out of which 17.9 million acres was irrigated by Government canals, 2.8 million acres by private canals, 8.8 million acres by tanks, 14.7 million acres by wells and 7.3 million acres by other sources. This constituted about 17.5 per cent of the total cultivated area of the country. Additional irrigation amounting to about 6.3 million acres will be available by 1956 from major and medium irrigation works taken up during the first plan. On full development, these works will irrigate about 22 million acres. The benefits for different States are given below:

State Irrigation available by-1956 Irrigation on full development.
1 2 3
Thousand acres
Andhra 89 1960
Assam 152 234
Bihar 689 2576
Bombay 309 1505
Madhya Pradesh 10 244
Madras 240 396
Orissa 90 1875
Punjab 1520 3280
Uttar Pradesh 1674 1920
West Bengal 639 2144
Hyderabad 72 1517
Madhya Bharat 120 706
Mysore 39 384
Pepsu 204 1011
Rajasthan 182 1758
Saurashtra 116 270
Travancore-Cochin 38 138
Jammu and Kashmir 35 170
Ajmer 1 10
Himachal Pradesh 24 100
Kutch 24 48
Vindhya Pradesh   37
total 6267 22283

8. An addition of 10 million acres is expected to be made to the irrigated area from minor irrigation works taken up during the first plan. Some areas which were previously irrigated by minor works like wells and tanks will now be served by large irrigation works giving more secure irrigation. The net addition to irrigated area from the projects in the first plan may, therefore, be taken as 15 million acres. The percentage of irrigated area to cultivated area will increase from 16 per cent in 1951 to 20 per cent at the end of the first plan.

Future Development

9. Irrigation.— Adequate data are not available for determining the eventual target for irrigation or the total irrigation development possible under different kinds of sources in the country.. It has, however, been roughly estimated that about 75 million acres may eventually be irrigated by multi-purpose, large and medium irrigation works. An equal area could be irrigated under other categories of irrigation sources thus making a total of about 150 million acres under irrigation from all sources. An all-India survey of the irrigation possibilities was made by the Irrigation Commission more than 50 years ago. There has been a great change in conditions since then. Firstly, there have been improvements in techniques of dam construction and in irrigation engineering generally. Schemes which were considered impossible in those days have now become practical propositions. Secondly, in recent years, there has been a great advance in the techniques of dry-farming, contour bunding, soil conservation etc. The estimates of possibilities of irrigation have to be revised from both these angles. We recommend that the Central and State Governments jointly should undertake a careful survey of future possibilities of large and medium irrigation projects and for minor irrigation schemes like tanks and wells. In each region, the question should also be studied at what point irrigation may cease to be economical and the adoption of dry-farming methods should be advocated. The investigations which we have proposed will provide a correct appreciation of the possibilities of development in the three directions indicated above, namely, how much irrigation can be developed under large and medium irrigation works; what are the possibilities of developing irrigation under minor irrigation works,Wells, etc; and thirdly, the scope for adopting dry-fanning techniques, contour-bunding, arrangements for the preservation of soil moisture etc. Such investigations are necessary for drawing up future plans for the- development of irrigation.

10. It is also essential that water requirements for crops under dry-farming conditions are kept in view in preparing projects for water utilisation by canal system. There is a danger that the total utilisation of catchment waters in lower areas by canal systems or storage reservoirs may deprive areas which cannot benefit from canal irrigation of the use of water through dry-farming techniques. Reservoirs should, therefore, not be so designed as to store the entire run-off from catchments without taking into consideration future water requirements of disadvantageously located areas in the upper reaches. Similarly, .the requirements of areas lower down should be kept in mind in fixing sizes of storage reservoirs in the upper reaches of a river.

11. Navigation.—Apart from irrigation, power generation, water supply and disposal of sewage, an important use of river waters is for purposes of navigation. Being a cheap means 6f transport, navigation can play an increasingly useful part in meeting the growing requirements of communications. The development of inland water transport has been hitherto confined to certain parts of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and U.P., and much progress has not been made in this direction during the first plan. In view of the growing requirements of development, the communication aspects of river waters have to be given greater attention and the possibilities of economic development of waterways for navigation have to be investigated more fully during the second five year plan. The problem has also to be given greater attention in connection with the planning of river valley projects,

12. Soil conservation.—The problems of soil conservation and steps to meet them were dealt with in the first plan. The necessity for careful attention to this problem is all the greater in areas affected by river valley projects, where large storage reservoirs are constructed and the normal regimes of rivers and tributaries in the basin are considerably changed. Without suitable soil conservation measures in catchment areas, the detritus brought by flowing waters is deposited in reservoirs and the streams below and impairs their capacities. The flow conditions in the rivers below the reservoirs are also significantly altered by the construction of dams. This, in turn, affects the flow conditions in the tributaries with the result that the soil erosion problem in the valley below becomes more serious. Soil conservation measures should, therefore, receive particular attention in areas affected by river valley projects and find an important place in soil conservation programmes. Check dams required for the safety of the works connected with river valley projects should also receive attention simultaneously and should form an integral part of every large river-valley project

Programme For The Second Plan

13. Physical Benefits.—The first five year plan was drawn up in the background of a long-term plan to double the area under irrigation from Government works over a period of 15 to 20 years. The total area irrigated in the country from all sources in 1951 was about 51 million acres. During the first plan, additional irrigation of 16.3 million acres would have been achieved: 6.3 million acres from large and medium projects and 10 million acres from minor works. During the second plan, it is proposed to bring under irrigation an -additional area of 21 million acres: 12 million acres from large and medium projects and 9 million acres from minor irrigation works. Out of the 12 million acres to be irrigated by large and medium projects, 9 million acres will be irrigated by projects which are at present under execution and 3 million acres by new projects to be taken up during the second plan. The latter have an ultimate potential in irrigation benefits of about 15 million acres. During the second plan, in the first three years, irrigation from these projects is expected to increase at the rate of 2 million acres per annum and in the last two years at the rate of 3 million acres per annum.

14. Financial Outlay.— During the first plan and in the immediately preceding years, there has been considerable activity in all parts of the country on irrigation projects. The total cost of irrigation and power projects initially included in the first five year plan was about Rs. 970 crores, of which irrigation accounted for about Rs. 620 crores. Additions were subsequently made such as the programme of medium irrigation schemes for permanent improvements in scarcity areas which involved an outlay of about Rs. 40 crores. The scope of some of the schemes was enlarged and, in certain cases, estimates had to be revised. Thus, the total cost of irrigation projects included in the first plan is about Rs. 720 crores of which about Rs. 80 crores had been spent before the commencement of the plan. The expenditure during the first plan is estimated to be Rs. 340 crores, the balance being carried over to the second and third plans. It is essential that projects in hand should be completed quickly so that expenditure already incurred may be put to productive use and benefits realised as soon as possible. During the second plan, these projects will require an outlay of about Rs. 209 crores.

15. The total cost of new irrigation projects included in the second plan is about Rs. 380 crores of which about Rs. 172 crores are expected to be spent during the second plan, the balance being required in the third and subsequent plans. The total provision during the second plan for major and medium irrigation works is Rs. 381 crores. An additional provision of Rs. 35 crores has been made for commencing projects for the utilisation of India's share of waters that will be released on the Indus system and certain other projects, decisions on- which are yet to be taken.

16. The programme includes 195 new irrigation projects. Ten of these cost between Rs. 10 and 30 crores, seven between Rs. 5 and 10 crores and the rest less than Rs. 5 crores. Thus, in the second plan, there is a marked preference for medium irrigation projects. The total'number, costs, and benefits of the different sizes of new projects included in the second plan are set out below:—

Estimated cost Number of Projects

Total estimated cost.(Rs. crores)

Approximate irrigation benefits on completion (million acres)
Between Rs. 10 and Rs. 30      
crores 10 191 8.4
Between Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 crores 7 54 1.5
Between Rs. 1 and Rs. 5 crores 35 85 3.4
Less than Rs. 1 crore 143 46 1.5
total 195 376 14.8

The particulars of important irrigation projects in the second plan are shown in Statement III in the Annexure.

17. The inclusion of a project in the plan does not mean that it has been fully investigated from every point of view. In fact, for a number of projects detailed technical investigations and economic assessment will have to be completed before construction can begin. In the initial stages, work on such projects will have to be confined to surveys and investigations for completing the project reports or, in particular cases, to works of a preliminary nature like access roads etc. The technical, economic and financial aspects of some of these projects may require considerable modification as a result of detailed investigations and even their scope may need to be reviewed. As was emphasised in the first five year plan, it would be desirable that at defined stages in the course of its execution the economic and financial aspects of every project as a whole and of its different parts and phases, should be carefully reviewed.

18. In carrying out the irrigation programmes, it is desirable that States should give close attention to the question of phasing. Apart from considerations of finance, the phasing of projects will be determined by several other factors, such as the technical personnel available, the need for realising benefits from some of the projects at an earlier stage, the claims of projects under execution and the requirements or needs of different areas within a State. Thus, a number of major projects included in the plan will have to be taken up in the later stages rather than in the earlier stages of the plan. Along with certain schemes, where investigations are yet incomplete, the Vamsadhara project in Andhra; the Kansai in Bihar; the Ukai, the Nar-mada, the Mahi, the Khadakwasia, the Gima and the Banas in Bombay; the Tawa in Madhya Pradesh; and the Kangsabati project in West Bengal are in this category. On some of these, the scope and benefits are yet to be defined. The total cost of these projects exceeds Rs. 200 crores against which a provision of about Rs. 50 crores has been made in the second plan.

19. In the preparation of the plans of different States, in addition to the requirements of additional irrigation and the level of development already attained, the capacity for implementing the proposed programmes has been taken into consideration. The size of programme of the different States in the second plan is shown in Statement IV in the Annexure.

20. Major and Minor Irrigation Projects.—In the Irrigation programme, there is need for a careful balance between major and minor irrigation schemes, which are complementary in character and scope. Each area has to be served by the kind of schemes, for which it offers suitable facilities. The first five year plan provided for 7 irrigation projects costing more than Rs. 30 crores, 6 irrigation projects costing between Rs. 10 crores and Rs. 30 crores, 4 costing between Rs. 5 crores and Rs. 10 crores, 50 costing between Rs. 1 crore and Rs. 5 crores each and about 200 costing less than Rs. 1 crore. Although as much as Rs. 340 crores will have been spent during the first plan, by 1956 the additional irrigation will amount to about 6.3 million acres, compared to a potential of about 22 million acres. Projects carried over from the first plan will call for an outlay of Rs. 209 crores during the second plan, out of a total provision in the plan of Rs. 416 crores. Both for ensuring a sequence of irrigation benefits and for financial and economic considerations, it was essential that in the second plan, in selecting new projects, preference should be given to medium-sized* projects. At the same time, minor irrigation works will continue to occupy a prominent place in the programme of irrigation.

21. Both major and minor irrigation works have relative advantages of their own. The major schemes utilise surplus river waters which would otherwise run to waste, they benefit large areas, give surer protection in years of scarcity, and can often be designed for multiple uses. Minor schemes require comparatively small outlay, yield quick results and can be executed speedily with local resources. But they give limited protection and need careful maintenance. The Grow More Food Enquiry Committee observed in 1952 that many minor irrigation works constantly fell into derelict condition. In viev/ of the large sums being spent on these works, there is need for special measures to ensure thier satisfactory maintenance. It is necessary that the responsibility for keeping minor works in good condition should be borne by the beneficiaries. For works which benefit a considerable section of the village population, efficient maintenance should be the joint responsibility of the local community. We recommended that State Governments should take power to levy a special maintenance cess, from the proceeds of which village panchayats separately and jointly can undertake the necessary repairs and renovations.

22. Economy in use a/irrigation supplies.—The need to use the available supplies of water with greater economy and efficiency than was customary was stressed in the first five year plan. Optimum use of available irrigation supplies presents two sets of problems, agricultural and engineering. Agricultural aspects such as water requirements of crops in relation to system of irrigation; frequency of watering, methods of cultivation, application of fertilizers etc. are being studied in the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Delhi and other research stations in States. The work will be continued in the second plan.

23. Larger areas can be irrigated from existing supplies by reducing absorbtion losses on canals, branches, distributaries and more especially, on water courses. It was recommended in the first five year plan that consideration might be given to the possibility of lining of irrigation channels, and lining carried out where justified on economical grounds. Except in a few States, inadequate progress has been made in this direction. This aspect may be given further consideration in the second plan. Economy in use of water can also be obtained by the proper alignment of water courses. The agency of the national extension service could give useful help in .alignments as well as in the construction and maintenance of water courses.


24. There were about 2,500 tubewells in India prior to 1951, about 2,300 of which were in the Uttar Pradesh. These tubewells irrigated about a million acres. The first plan provided for the construction of 2,650 tubewells under the Indo-U.S. Technical Cooperation Programme, 700 tubewells under the grow-more-food programme and 2,480 tubewells in the development plans of States. The number of tubewells to be constructed in different States and the progress made upto the end of 1955 are given below:—

State Indo-U.S Technical Cooperation Scheme G-M.F. Programme State plans
No. allotted No. completed No. allotted No. completed No. Allotted No. completed.
Bihar 385 378     424 424
U.P. 1275 1094 420 93 1400 1165
Punjab 530 445 150   256 256
PEPSU 460 369 130      
Bombay         400 198
total 2650 2286 700 93 2480 2043

The additonal irrigated area by these tubewells will be about 2 million acres on completion and full development.

25. As a result of technological advances in tubewell engineering, the possibilities of utilisation of underground waters have appreciably increased. A programme for drilling 350 deep exploratory tubewells for assessing the possibilities of exploiting ground water resources for irrigation was begun during the firstplan. Explorations have been conducted at 22 sites so far and will be continued in the second plan.

26. The programme for the second plan provides for the construction of 3581 tubewells. The total outlay on these tubewells will be about Rs. 20 crores, which has been included in the provision under the minor irrigation programme which forms part of the Agriculture sector, and the irrigation expected therefrom is 916,000 acres. The distribution of these tubewells by State is shown below:

Name of State Number of tube-well* Estimated cost (Rs.lakhs) Area to be irrigated fOOO acres) Approximate number of exploratory tubewell borings
Andhra       25
Assam 50 30 15 15
Bihar 150 10 15 16
Bombay 330 150 66 15
Madhya Pradesh and Bhobal 98 70 39 30
Madras 300 75 6 50
Orissa 25 20 7 20
Punjab 466 280 77 46
Uttar Pradesh 1500 1050 485 47
West Bengal 150 100 32 37
PEPSU 292 150 133 5
Rajasthan 50 35 16 5
Saurashtra 70 25 14 10
Travancore-Cochin       5
Delhi 50 21.5 8  
Kutch*       10
Pondicherry 50 12.5 3  
Other areas       14
total 3581 2029 916 350

27. Outside Punjab, Pepsu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and the northern part of Gujarat in Bombay, over large areas underground conditions need to be studied. This is the object of the exploratory tubewell scheme. The tubewell programmes which have been drawn up in several states may require modification according to the results of investigations.

28. The cost of irrigation by tubewells is generally higher than that of irrigation by gravity canals. Studies in the economics of irrigation by tubewells have been initiated by States at the suggestion of the Planning Commission. These need to be followed up systematically and their results published, since in regions which cannot be commanded by gravity canals, tubewell irrigation will become increasingly important.

II Power Power Resources

29. Although a complete field survey has not so far been undertaken, some progress has been made during the first plan in making a preliminary assessment of the hydro-electric potential in the country. General studies have been made on the power potential of the east and west flowing rivers of south India and the rivers of central India. Similar work has been begun on the Himalayan and other river systems in northern India. It has been estimated that the total hydro-electric potential, which it might be possible to develop from various likely sites, is about 35 million kW. This includes about 4 million kW from the west flowing rivers and about 7 million kW from the east flowing rivers of the southern region, about 4 million kW from the Narmada, Tapti, Mahanadi, Brahmini and Baitami basins in the central region and about 20 million kW from the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Indus and other Himalayan rivers in the northern and north-eastern regions. The potential of the southern and central regions, has been estimated from the available data and topographical maps. On the other hand, the potential of the Himalayan rivers can be indicated only in a rough way, as studies in respect of the region are still in progress. A further stage of study, which it is hoped to begin during the second plan, is to re-examine the potential on the basis of more detailed considerations such as the economics of development, period of construction, load demand and other local limiting factors.

30. Side by side with the development of water power, coal fired thermal stations will continue to be important sources of electrical energy in this country. With about 40,000 million tons of known coal reserves of steam and non-coking varieties and possibilities of further reserves of lignite, no difficulty in meeting the coal requirements for power generation is anticipated in the foreseeable future. Only about 10 per cent. of the coal raised is being used for power generation at present, and, as coal production steadily increases, the'proportion required for power generation is not likely to exceed this percentage. Power generation from diesel oil is at present limited to small isolated installations. During the next few years it is unlikely that diesel power generation will be used for power development on any large scale.

31. While the coal and hydro resources of the country are sufficient to meet the overall power requirements during the next few decades, there are, nevertheless, certain industrially developing zones which are remote from coalfields and where the hydro potential may either not be available or may have been already developed. In such areas, because of its substantially lower coal of fuel, atomic power may pro fitably supplement thermal power for generating electricity. Capital costs are still somewhat higher for atomic than for thermal power stations, but this difference may be offset in varying degrees by other economies. The country has adequate resources of uranium and thorium for developing this new source of energy. Atomic power might be expected to begin supplementing power from other sources during the next few years.

1950-51 1955-56 Percentage increase during the first plan.
(1) Installed capacity kW in millions
Public utility undertakings:
(a) State-owned 0.6 1.4 133
(b) Company-owned 1.1 1.3 18
Self generating industrial
establishments 0.6 0.7 17
total 2.3- 3.4 48
(2) Energy generated (kWh in millions)
Public utility undertakings:
(a) State-owned 2104 4500 114
(b) Company-owned 3003 4300 43
Self generating industrial
establishments 1468 2200 50
total 6575 11,000 67

32. At the beginning of the first five year plan, the total installed capacity of power generating plant was 2.3 million kW of which 1.7 million kW was in electricity supply undertakings in the public and private sectors and 0.6 million kW in industrial establishments generating their own power. The target for the first five year plan was 1.3 million kW, of which 1.1. million kW was to be provided in the public sector and 200,000 kW by private electricity supply companies. Of this target, the public sector has achieved about 800,000 kW and the private sector 200,000 kW. In addition, work on power plants with an aggregate capacity of about 200,000 kW has been almost completed in the public sector and these will be commissioned before th and end of 1956. No targets .had been set for power plants in industrial establishments. A number of them have closed down their less economic generating plants and changed over to bulk supply from public utility grid systems. However, during the first plan there'was a net increase of about 100,000 kW in the power plant capacity of industrial establishments bringing the total capacity to 700,000 kW in March, 1956. The position in respect of installed capacity and electrical energy generated at the beginning and at the end of the first five year plan is state.d below:—

33. The principal power schemes completed and brought into service during the first plan are:

1. Nangal (Punjab) 48,000 kW
2. Bokaro (Bihar) 150,000 kW
3. Chola (Kalyan, Bombay) 54,000 kW
4. Khaperkheda (Madhya Pradesh) 30,000 kW
5. Moyar (Madras) 36,000 kW
6. Madras City Plant Extensions (Madras) 30000kW
7. Machkund (Andhra and Orissa) 34,000 kW
8. Pathri (Uttar Pradesh 13,600 kW
9. Sarda ( Do. ) 27,600 kW
10. Sengulam (Travancore-Cochin) 48,000 kW
11. Joe (Mysore) 72.000 kW

In addition, considerable progress has been made on a number of major projects which will be completed during the second five year plan. The Bhakra, Hirakud, Koyna, Chambal, and Riband come within this group and from all of these about 1.7 million kW of power generating capacity is expected to be added during the second plan. A detailed list of these continuing schemes is given in statement V, in the Annexure.

34. Satisfactory progress has also been made in the construction of transmission lines for expanding the grid systems in the country. About 19,000 miles of sub-transmission and transmission lines of 11 kV and above, have been added during the first plan, representing an increase of 100 per cent over that of 1951.

35. There has also been a marked increase in the number of towns and villages which are served with electric power as will be seen from the following table:—

Population 1950-5I* 1955-56
Total number according to 1941 census Number electrified as at March 1951 Total number according to 1951 census Number electrified as at March 1956
Over 1,00,000 49 49 73 73
50,000 lo 1,00,000 88 88 111 111
20,000 to 50,000 277 240 401 366
10,000 to 20,000 607 260 856 350
5,000 to 10,000 2367 258 3101 1200
Less than 5,000 559062 2792 556565 5300
562450 3687 561107 -7400

*Note:—The electricity statistics available for 1950-51 are based on the number of villages as per 1941 census only, in view of the time lag in the publication of 1951 census data.

The total number of communities with a population of less than 10,000 which have received electricity has been more than doubled during the first plan period. The actual number of electrified villages with a population of less than 5000 has increased from 2792 to 5300.

36. As a result of the generation and distribution programmes referred to above, the per capita consumption in the country has increased from 14 units in 1950-51 to 25 in 1955-56.

37. The total plan provision for expenditure on power projects included in the first five year plan amounted to Rs. 260 crores including the proportionate cost of multipurpose projects. In major river valley projects like Bhakra-Nangal, D.V.C., Hirakud, Chambal, Koyna, Rihand, etc., where extensive civil works were involved, considerable delay was experienced during the initial stages in completing the investigations, in revising the scope of the projects and in setting up the necessary organisation for their execution. In addition, as the country had to depend largely on imported machinery and equipment for generation and transmission of power, delays occurred due to protracted deliveries from foreign manufacturers. Difficulties in the procurement of key materials like steel and cement were also experienced to some extent Despite these difficulties, the progress on the power programme during the first plan period has been fairly satisfactory.

Future Development

38. Planning for power projects is a continuous process and has to be based on long-term objectives. At the time of formulation of the first plan, the 15-year target for additional power capacity was set at 7 million kW. In view of the progress which has been made and the growing demand for power from industry, small towns and rural areas, this target has to be revised upwards. So far as can be ascertained at the present time, for the, second and third plans, it will be necessary to set forth, as an objective of planning, a rate of increase of about 20 per cent. annually in the installed capacity of public utility undertakings. On this basis, the tentative target for 1965 would be to raise the total installed capacity in the country to about 15 million kW. In the nature of things a target such as this cannot be regarded as being rigid; adjustment will certainly he needed from time to time so as to take' account of changes in the scope of industrial programmes, location of industrial units and the growth and pattern of consumption.

Programmes For The Second Plan

39. Power plant capacity and generation.—The power development programme under the second plan is intended to fulfil three aims:

  1. to meet the normal load growth in the existing power systems,
  2. to provide the requisite capacity for reasonable expansion of the areas of supply, and
  3. to meet the needs of industries which are to be established under the second five year plan.

40. It is estimated that about 1.4 million kW. of additional power demand will arise on account of the normal development of medium and small industries and of commercial and domestic consumption. In addition to this, a further demand of 1.3 million kW is expected on account of new programmes of industrial development included in the second plan. Making allowance for the requisite standby capacity and for seasonal variations in water flow conditions in hydroelectric installations, it is estimated that an addition of 3.5 million kW will be required during the next five years. As more systematic load surveys are undertaken and details of industrial programmes are determined, these estimates may have to be reviewed. Out of the total requirement of 3.5 million kW of installed power plant capacity, 2.9 million kW will come from State-owned undertakings, 300,000 kW from companies in the electricity supply industry and the remaining 300,000 kW from the lignite project and from steel, cement, paper and other factories which will have their own generating plant. The result of these programmes will be to increase the total installed capacity of power plant in the country from 3.4 million kW in March, 1956 to 6.9 million kW by March, 1961. The amount of energy generated is expected to increase from about 11,000 million units in 1955-56, to 22,000 million units in 1960-61. Corresponding to the programme of development indicated above the per capita consumption of electricity is expected to increase from 25 units at the end of the first plan to about 50 units at the end of the second plan. The details of the proposed increase in generating capacity and energy generated are given below:—



1955-56 1960-61 Percentage increase during the second plan
(l) Installed capacity (kW in millions)
  Public utility undertakings:  
  (a) State-owned 1.4 4.3 207
  (b) Company-owned 1.3 1.6 23'
  Self-generating industrial establishments 0.7 1.0 43
  total 3.4 6.9 103.
(2) Energy generated. (kWh in millions)
  Public utility undertakings:  
  (a) State-owned 4500 13500 200
  (b) Company-owned 4300 5300 23
  Self-generating industrial establishments 3200 2200 45
  total 11,000 22,000 100

41. The addition of 2.9'million kW in power plant capacity, proposed for the public sector, will include 2.1 million kW of hydroelectric plant and 800,000 kW of thermal plant, the latter also including a small amount of diesel capacity. Forty four hydro and steam power generating schemes (both new and extension to existing stations) are proposed to be undertaken during the second plan, a list of which is given in Statement V in the Annexure. Of these, 25 are hydroelectric stations and 19 are thermal stations. Most of the new power schemes will yield benefits within the five year period. A number of schemes which require further investigation will, however, be started in the second half of the plan, and financial provision for them has been made on this basis. In considering the details of the programmes of States, care has been taken to ensure that benefits from most of the projects will be available during the second plan period and will keep pace with the demand for power in the areas to be served. The programme of the private sector provides for important plant additions in Calcutta, Ahmedabad and in the Tata power system as also additions in small sizes in a number of systems in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Saurashtra all of which total to about 300,000 kW in the second plan period. A list of important plant additions by the companies in the electricity supply industry is also given in Statement V in the Annexure.

42. Financial outlay—A number of projects commenced in the first plan are at present in different stages of construction. A total outlay ofRs. 160 crores is required for these schemes during the second plan. An additional outlay of Rs. 245 crores is proposed for new schemes to be completed during the second plan and Rs. 22 crores for schemes, the benefits from which will be derived in the third plan. The outlay and benefits from the continuing and new schemes are shown below:—

  Outlay in the
second plan
Benefits during the second plan Benefits during the third plan
Rs. crores (kW in million)
Schemes carried over from the first to the second plan 160 1.7  
New schemes which yield benefits during second plan 245 1-2  
New schemes which will yield benefits during the third plan 22   0.9
total 427 2.9 0.9

Schemes included in the third group above will be taken up in the later stages of the plan period and will require an outlay of about Rs. 145 crores for completion during the third plan. Among the important projects in this category are Sileru (Andhra), Rana Pratapsagar (Rajasthan), Ukai (Bombay) and either the Pamba or the Pringalkuthu (Travancore-Cochin). The size of the power programmes of the different States in the second plan is shown in Statement VI in the Annexure.

43. An approximate breakdown of the capital outlay of Rs. 427 crores in the public sector into generation, transmission and distribution schemes is given below:-

Generation 235
Transmission 92
Distribution in urban areas 25
Small town and rural electrification 75

45. During the second plan private electricity supply companies are expected to invest about Rs. 42 crores, of which about Rs. 29 crores will be required for the installation of generating capacity and the balance for extensions to existing transmission and distribution systems.

44. In terms of capital outlay, the new power generation schemes included in the second plan can be classified as follows:—

Schemes costing over 10 crores of rupees 10
Schemes costing between 5-10 crores of rupees 4
Schemes costing between 1-5 crores of rupees 18
Schemes costing less than 1 crore of rupees 12

46. Hydro-electric and Thermal schemes.—The selection of a hydro-electric or a thermal project has to be made on the basis of the long term or the short term need for power in any particular region. Thus, a number of medium sized thermal power station projects have been included in the plan for meeting the immediate power requirements of certain areas. The hydro, steam and diesel plant capacities as at March, 1951 sad March, 1956 and the anticipated capacity in March, 1961 are set out below:—

Installed capacity of power plant—(kW in millions)

In March 1951 Additions during the first plan In March 1956 Additions during the second plan In March 1961
Hydro 0.56 0.40 0.96 2.10 3.06
Steam 1.00 0.55 1.55 1.10 2.65
Diesel 0.15 0.06 0.21 0.02 0.23
total 1.71 1.01 2.72 3.22 5.94*

*NOTE:—These figures do not include the one million kW of plant installed in self-generating industries which are mostly thermal.

47. The programme of development proposed for the second plan visualizes hydro-electric capacity of more than twice the thermal plant. It is expected that this emphasis on hydro installations will continue for some time. At the same time thermal power development will also maintain more or less the present rate of growth. They are specially needed to firm up the large quantum of seasonal power in hydro-filectric stations and to serve regions which are short of water power potential.

48. The existing diesel power plant capacity in public utilities is about 8% of the total and it would be replaced gradually by bulk supply from grid systems. A certain amount of new capacity, made up of small units, will be added.for nursery schemes and for providing supply to isolated locations.

49. A study of the economics of atomic power generation in the country is being made by the Atomic Energy Department. From such studies as have been made it appears that nuclear energy may be competitive in areas far removed from sources of coal or with no hydro electric resources. It is of utmost importance that India should remain abreast of developments in the field of nuclear power, and the Atomic Energy Department has drawn up a detailed programme of work.

50. Grid .systems and transmission lines.—Power development during the past decade has proceeded in the direction of grid systems which carry power over long distances to serve extensive areas. Generation of power is confined, to a few large and efficient power stations which may be hydro or thermal or a combination of both, depending upon the resources available in a region. As a result of advances in transmission techniques, large blocks of power can now be economically transferred over distances of 300 to 400 miles. This makes it possible to harness hydroelectric potentials in different regions and to utilise power in widely separated centres of industry. Similarly, thermal power on a large scale can be produced economically in colliery areas, often using inferior grades of coal, and the power which is produced can be fed into grid lines and carried over hundreds of miles. This will also make it possible to provide power supply economically to rural areas lying alongside the routes of transmission lines connecting important urban and industrial load centres. Furthermore, regional grids can be interconnected with one another so as to provide for inter-change of power and for achieving improved efficiency and economy, reduction in standby capacity and greater security of supply. A few examples of such inter-connections in India are (i) the Pykara, Mettur, Papanasam and Madras city systems in the Madras State, (ii) the two tie lines between the Madras and Travancore-Cochin State systems, (iii) linking of the Jog (Mysore) and Tungabhadra (Andhra) systems, (iv) inter-connection of Nangal and Delhi power stations with a future possibility of connecting them with the western Uttar Pradesh power system, and (v) inter-connection of D.V.C.'s thermal and hydro stations in Bihar with the Calcutta city system. A larger number of such inter-connections have to be established in future and it is recommended that grid systems in the various States should be planned to fit in with the general aim of inter-connecting as many power systems as possible and eventually of establishing an all-India grid.

51. The second plan provides for a total length of 35,000 miles of transmission and sub-transmission lines of voltages varying from 220 kV. to 11 kV. This addition represents a doubling of the transmission mileage constructed during the first plan.

Small Town And Rural Electrification

52. Out of 585 medium and large towns with a population of 20,000 and above, 550 have been electrified by the end of the first plan. In the next range of population, namely, 10,000 to 20,000, only 350 have been electrified out of a total of 856. A15 the remaining towns and small towns with a population of 10,000 and over will be electrified during the second plan. The development of small towns is essential also for the development of the adjoining rural areas.

53. In towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000 electrification raises difficult economic problems, especially in the villages. Most villages are comparatively distant from developed power sources. It is estimated that the average cost of providing distribution lines and sub-station equipments would be Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 70,000 per village and if all the villages in the country were to be electrified, the capita! outlay involved in the distribution lines alone would exceed Rs. 3000 crores. The programme of rural electrification has thus to be on a phased basis. In the second plan, out of a total outlay of Rs. 427 crores on power programmes, about Rs. 75 crores will be spent on the ^electrification of small towns and villages.

54. In comparison with large urban areas, rural areas lack what is described as load density. The capital cost as well as the operation and maintenance charges are, therefore, much higher. The most practical approach to the problem is, in the first instance, to undertake extension of power supply to villages which lie in proximity to town areas where power supply exists. Similarly, wherever possible, supply lines should be constructed from grid transmission lines to villages lying near their routes. Further, in the financial working of the schemes, the urban and run' schemes should be integrated so that the surplus from the revenues realised from urban and industrial consumers can be utilised for reducing rates to rural consumers. There is justification tor adjusting tariffs for urban and industrial consumers with a view to carrying out this policy. For rural electrification schemes it may not always be -possible to apply the usual yardstick of financial return. In special cases, where electricity would provide large benefits to the community the State Governments, subject to their finances permitting, may even sponsor schemes which are not expected to be self-supporting within the usual period of 10 years.

55. In 1954-55 a scheme for the expansion of power facilities for providing employment opportunities was introduced. The object of this scheme was to improve the power position with a view to expanding employment opportunities in (i) rapidly growing small and medium sized towns, (ii) suburbs of large towns already electrified, and (iii) community project areas in which on account of the available skills and local resources or new development programmes, employment in small industries could be expanded by utilising power. For this purpose a loan amount ofRs. 20 crores was set apart by the Government of India for the various State Governments on easy terms of repayment ovex a long period. This programme, which includes a number of diesel generating stations and extensions to existing distribution systems, is now in progress and will be completed within 18 months from now. It is proposed that this form of assistance should continue during the second plan period.

56. For the successful implementation of rural schemes, a large amount of cooperative effort on the part of the people has to .be organised by national extension and other field staff. In an area in which the demand for irrigation pumping or electrical working of small industries can be developed, the community project workers in cooperation with villagers, should make a careful survey of present and prospective needs and prepare schemes for utilizing electricity to the greatest possible advantage of the village economy. In many cases the people will be able to contribute a portion of the cost and provide labour for construction. Similarly, consumers' cooperative societies can be formed for the purchase of motors, pumps, etc. on easy terms and for servicing them. Under the second plan there is provision for extending power to over 10,000 villages, but through an intensive cooperative approach, more can be achieved with the existing financial provision.

57. In spite of the fair rate of expansion of grid systems, it would take a. Ibng time before power lines could reach the country-side in any large measure. Where there is scope for the utilisation of electricity in agriculture and in small industries local schemes could be undertaken in the form ofdiesel installations or in hilly areas through small hydro-electric stations. In this connection, reference may be made to research initiated recently by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research for the development of wind power. It is hoped that some small working units would soon be evolved which could be installed in coastal areas with fairly high wind velocities for a part of the year. All these small-scale power schemes could be developed by co-operative efforts of the people with a certain amount of financial and the technical assistance from the State Governments. These schemes should be conceived as a part of the overall development of such localities so that the consuming industries are also developed side by side. Depending upon the use for electricity in the area, the'power stations and distribution lines could be designed and run on austerity standards for restricted hours and without full provision for standby capacity so that the utmost economy in working is achieved. Pilot schemes on these lines may be undertaken where conditions are favourable.

58. The following table gives the breakdown in terms of population range, and the number of towns and villages to be electrified by 1961'-

Population Range Total number according to 1951 census Number electrified as at March 1956 Number to be electrified as at March 1961
Over 1,00,000 73 73 73
50,000-1,00,000 111 111 111
20.000-50.000 401 366 401
10,000-20,000 856 350 856
5,000-10,000 3101 1200 2659
Less than 5,000 556565 5300 13900
561107 7400 18000

It will be seen that about 10,600 additional towns and villages, of which 8600 will have less than 5000 population, are programmed -to be electrified in the next five year period which will mean an increase of 140 per cent over the present level.

Utilization Of Power

59. With growing emphasis on industrialisation and large-scale development of basic industries, the pattern of utilization of power by different consumer groups will show a gradual change. A shift towards increased consumption of power in industries can already be observed and is likely to become more marked by the end of the second plan, as may be seen from the statement below:—

1950 1955 1960
Consumption kWh in millions Percentage of total Consumption kWh in millions Percentage of total Estimated consumption kWh in millions Percentage of total
Domestic 525 12.7 800 11.5 1480 9.0
Commercial 309 7.4 500 7.1 984 6.0
Public lighting 60 1.5 110 1.6 250 1.5
Industrial 2609 62.7 4600 65.7 12000 72.0
Traction 309 7.4 440 6.3 655 4.0
Irrigation 162 3.9 260 3.7 655 4.0
Water works 182 4.4 290 4.1 576 3.5
total 4156* 100.0 7COO* 100.0 16600* 100.0

note.—These figures represent the units sold by public utilities and exclude energy generated by self generating industrial establishments which is wholly consumed in industry.

There will be marked increase in industrial consumption which will risi' iroi-a 4600 million units in 1955 to 12,000 million units in 1960. Pumping water for irrigation purposes provides the main demand for power in rural areas, and with the increased tempo of rural electrification, there will be substantial increase in the energy utilised for this purpose. Next to irrigation, power in rural areas is consumed by small industries. It is estimated that the energy utilised in rural areas 'may amount to about 7.5 per cent of the total.

III Flood Control

60. Floods occur frequently in some parts of the country and cause enormous damage. Large areas are inundated in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam and several towns suffer erosion year after year. Although the problem is not extensive or frequent in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Pepsu, Orissa and Andhra, some areas in these States periodically suffer from floods. Inundation is also caused by the coastal rivers and by the sea in some areas in the South.

61. Many of the rivers traverse more than one State, and the problem of flood control is necessarily an inter-state problem. A Central Flood Control Board was therefore constituted in 1954 to draw up a coordinated flood control programme and to consider projects proposed by the States. Four River Commissions have been created for (i) the Ganga, (ii) the Brahmaputra, (iii) the rivers in North West and (iv) the rivers in Central India, to assist the Central Rood Control Board in technical matters, including preparation'of integrated plans for river basins. The Central Water and Power Commission has .been strengthened by the addition of a Flood wing for assisting in the preparation of flood control schemes and drawing up of integrated plans, and for scrutinizing proposals received from the States.

62. When the first plan was drawn up, flood control schemes were envisaged as a part of multipurpose river projects and no separate provision was made for flood control programme. The floods of 1954 were, however, exceptionally heavy and highlighted the need to deal with the flood control in a coordinated and planned manner independently as a problem distinct from the development of irrigation and power. A tentative programme of works to be carried out during the first five year plan was prepared and a provi* sion of Rs. 16.5 crores was made for'assistance by way of loans to states for flood control schemes. A total amount of about Rs. 8 crores is likely to have been spent during the first Plan.

63. Obviously, floods can neither be stopped completely, nor is it advisable to do so. Floods bring fine silt and add to fertility of the areas which they submerge. In some years, however, when they are abnormal, they cause great devastation and misery. To reduce frequency and extent of damage, the intensity of floods has to be controlled. This requires systematic programmes. The measures generally adopted are:—

  1. embankments;
  2. storage reservoirs, preferably on the tributaries;
  3. detention basins, where the excess of flood water may be stored for a short time;
  4. diversion of water from one river into another;
  5. increasing the slope in the river by cutting across loops;
  6. dredging and channelling river reaches where water-way has been reduced by silting;
  7. local protection works such as revetments and spurs to safeguard particular areas against erosion; and
  8. afforestation and contour bunding.

64. A choice of appropriate methods depends on various factors and cannot be made without complete data. The preparation of a balanced scheme for a river basin is a complex engineering, economic and social problem. All factors have to be carefully considered in arriving at a suitable programme of works for each river basin, and the main difficulty in drawing up comprehensive plans is usually the lack of basic topographical, meteorological, geological and hydraulic data.

65. For want of essential data, it has not yet been possible to draw up comprehensive plans for flood control schemes. It is of primary importance that surveys should be completed and necessary data collected to formulate appropriate flood control proposals expeditiously. Until this is done, only protective works of an immediate nature which will eventually form part of comprehensive plans can be carried out.

66. The outline of the programme of flood control works has recently been drawn up by the Ministry of Irrigation and Power. It is divided into three phases:

  1. Immediate.—This will cover investigation, and preparation of plans and estimates. Revetments, spurs and embankments may be constructed in selected localities.
  2. Short-term.— During this phase, embankments and channel improvements will be undertaken. This type of protection will apply to a major portion of the areas subject to floods.
  3. Long-term.—This phase will cover construction of storage reservoirs on rivers and tributaries which will in general be taken up along with irrigation and power projects for multi-purpose development of the basin.

67. A provision of Rs. 60 crores has been made in the second p^an for immediate and short term measures including Rs. 5 crores for surveys and collection of data. Soil conservation'and afforestation are important measures for flood control and should be given special consideration in all flood control proposals.

68. While both the direct and indirect benefits of flood control works are considerable, it should be mentioned that such works maVin certain conditions have adverse effects by depriving inundated areas of siit wluch has considerable fertilising value. The principal benefits of flood control works are in the greater economic security and continuous development which they ensure. As stated earlier, it is impracticable to provide complete protection against floods. Even if this were technically possible, the cost would be prohibitive. Flood control works selected for a region have, therefore, to be such as will conform to the local conditions and afford appreciable protection at reasonable cost.


69. For many irrigation projects proposed for the second five year plan the supporting data were either incomplete or inadequate. Continuous investigations are, therefore, required in a number of directions. First may be placed the need for more complete and better coordinated records ofhydrologic data, that is the establishment at all strategic points of continuous records of piecip^ation, run off, underground water, and so on. Second, not unrelated to the collection of data recommended above, is a complete and fairly detailed inventory of all the water resources of each region—rivers, lakes and ponds and underground waters. Third, there should be continuous investigations of possible project areas and of promising specific projects. Irrigation projects take a long period to investigate. To ensure continuity in the development of water resources, project areas and projects should be defined and basic engineering surveys carried out in advance. In the fourth place, determination of future desirable projects should be followed by detailed surveys followed by basic designs which can be revised and utilised when necessary. There are project areas in which the need for dams in the ''atan is unquestionable This need having been determined, at If'.sst the h?sic surveys including topograph'x. maps, borw.1, etc. required for working out the narnra and location ol '.he dams should be made. Complete designs could be m.'ii.le in a Triari'/ely short time subsequently if the basic data from detailed sur,veys are in hand.

70. The need for such surveys was stressed in the first plan, but sufficient progress has not been achieved. In most States, the governmental organisations have been largely devoted to construction of projects and in certain States, the importance of investigations has not been adequately recognised. For projects included in the second plan which have not been fully investigated, it is essential that investigations should be completed and detailed reports prepared before actual construction is taken in hand. In some States, investigations are also required for working out alternative schemes which may, if found necessary, be substituted for the schemes included in the plan. We therefore attach the greatest importance to this work. Where necessary, separate staff under the respective public works or electricity departments should be put on this task specifically by the States. An amount ofRs. 5.9 crores has been provided in the plans of States for investigations and surveys: Rs. 4.4 crores under "Irrigation" and Rs. 1.5 crores under "Power". To avoid delays in the commencement of projects in the second plan and similar delays in the selection and commencement of additional projects in future a carefully worked out programme of investigations has great importance.


71. Power load surveys.— During the last fjpw years, the rate of utilisation of power has been more rapid than before* It is likely to rise during the second plan. In areas served by projects such as the Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, DVC and in" the grid systems of Andhra, Bombay, Madras, Uttar Pradesh and Mysore the load prospects have far exceeded previous anticipations. The gradual lifting of restrictions on power supply in various parts of the country has been, to some extent, responsible for the increased demands. But even more than this, are the- effects of economic development during the first five year plan. The present estimates of loads for the next ten years will probably have to be revised upwards. A systematic power load survey, is, therefore, urgently needed, the Ministry of Irrigation and Power have taken up the survey on a national basis, and field data are being collected through four regional centres and will be compiled by the Central Water and Power Commission. The information available in the States will also be drawn upon and field work will be organised in collaboration with State Governments. The first survey is expected to be completed within the next three years.

72. Soil surveys.—The crop pattern in a region largely depends on soil and climate. Extension of irrigation alters the crop pattern in the area as diverse and more profitable crops can be grown with irrigation. facilities, the change, however, depends largely on !he soil conditions of the locality. Comprehensive soil surveys in all States will, therefore, be of considerable advantage in determining in advance the crops that can best be grown in the different regions. As quantities of water required for irrigation depend on the crops to be grown, the classification of soils is equally important for determining the proper sizes of canals and reservoirs. The proposals for such schemes are sometimes insufficiently related to these basic requirements.

73. Water requirements.—The water requirements of areas to be irrigated require careful assessment for determining the size and scope of an irrigation project. Data pertaining to proportion of areas irrigated to commanded areas and the water requirements are usually available in regions which are already under irrigation by wells or other sources. This is, however, only one of the factors in forecasting the water required for irrigation. Future changes in the crop pattern, improvement in economic conditions, difference in costs of application of water from the project and from alternative sources are other factors which influence the area that would ultimately be irrigated by the project. Areas already commanded by irrigation projects, and situated under similar conditions also yield valuable information. The compilation and correlation of existing information which would assist in estimating irrigation and water requirements in different basins, is a necessary step in the preparation of a comprehensive plan for irrigation in each State and should be taken in hand for areas not commanded by irrigation projects.

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