Hirakud Dam’s Second Spillway Construction Underway, First Time In India: Odisha Water Resources Secretary

10 January 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: Hirakud Dam in western Odisha, the longest major earthen dam in India and arguably Asia’s too, is all set to get its second spillway (gate for release of flood water) as its construction has already started. The project will be completed in three years.

This was revealed by Odisha Water Resources Principal Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena today at the State Secretariat.

Talking to media, Jena said, “When Hirakud Dam was built, the model was based on the then available technology. Now new methods have emerged. It is now discovered that during the maximum flood, the existing spillway of Hirakud Dam is not sufficient. It needs to be expanded.”

“For this reason, an additional spillway is being constructed at right embankment which is for the first time in the country. It is being constructed aided by the World Bank and CWC. Approximately Rs 500 crores will be the estimated cost of project. Tender is over and Tata Engineering has just begun the work. The project will be over in three years,” he informed.

“If it is built, it will help during high flood. The two spillways can be used for flood water release when warranted,” he claimed.

Notably, Hirakud Dam measures 25.8 km (16.0 mi) including dykes, and stands across the river Mahanadi. It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects started after India's Independence. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 January 1957. The total cost of the project was ?1,000.2 million (equivalent to ?71 billion or US$990 million in 2017) in 1957. Power generation along with agricultural irrigation started in 1956, achieving full potential in 1966.

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P.K. Jena, Secretary, Water Resources, Odisha

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M.K. Mathur, Member, Designing, CWC