The first multipurpose dam in India is Tilaiya Dam. It was built across Barakar River in the Indian state of Jharkhand. Barakar is a main tributary of Damodar River; latter was also known as the ‘Sorrow of India’ due to its regular devastating floods.

The First Multipurpose River Valley Project of Independent India

The Dam was the first among four multipurpose Dams constructed in the Damodar valley by Damodar Valley Corporation, primarily to contain floods and also for generating electricity and promoting agriculture. Tilaiya dam is a concrete gravity dam with a height of 30.28 meters (99.3 ft) and a length of 366 meters (1201 ft).

Location of Talaiya Dam

Tilaiya Dam is located around 64 Km downstream and in the upper reaches of Barakar river which originates in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand. The Dam is located in the Koderma District of Jharkhand and is easily accessible by road and rail transport. The dam is approximately 16 km from Koderma railway station and around 400 Km from Kolkata. The main Patna-Ranch road passes through near the Dam.

The Need of Talaiya Dam

Rising in the Palamau Hills Chota Nagpur region of Jharkhand the Damodar River flows through the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. Damodar river valley has a drainage area of 22005 sq km and receives an annual rainfall of 1400 mm especially in the Chota Nagpur Region during the monsoon months. Such high level of precipitation brought havoc in the upper reaches of valley with River breaking its coast and flooding the lower lying areas. Floods in the Damodar valley had long been a regular phenomenon resulting in large scale destruction and loss of life.

The gravity of the floods and their regular occurrence had earned the Damodar the name- ‘River Of Sorrow’. The areas affected by the floods were the lower delta regions of Damodar mainly in eastern state of West Bengal – Hooghly, Medinipur, Howrah and Bardhaman. There is a long list of recorded floods in history of Damodar River year after year beginning as early as 1770 till 1943.

Though the floods are common even today; but, their devastation has been considerably reduced due to the construction of various barrages and dams in the valley by the Damodar Valley Corpoartion.

The Beginning

Due to the large scale destruction caused by the floods in 1943, Damodar flood enquiry committee was appointed by the then governor of Bengal- John Herbert. The committee was entrusted with the task of providing viable solution for containing floods and suggests remedies. The committee proposed the formation of a separate authority on the lines of Tennessee valley Authority, United States; which was formed in 1933 with an objective to contain floods, provide navigation, generate electricity and promote other economic activities in the Tennessee valley in United States.

The draft of a multipurpose project in the Damodar River valley was prepared and submitted by W.L. Voorduin, a senior engineer in the Tennessee Valley Authority; subsequently leading to the formation of Damodar Valley Corporation in 1948. The objective of the corporation was not only to contain flood but also to develop the whole valley by generating electricity, providing and improving navigation and also take necessary measures to improve irrigation in the entire valley.

 

In the process four Dams were constructed by the Authority at – Konar, Maithon and Panchet, Tilaiya and Durgapur barrage. Tilaiya Dam was the first to be built across the river Barakar and was inaugurated on 21st Feb 1953.

Structure and Technical Details of Talaiya Dam

The Talaiya Dam is a concrete gravity dam with a maximum height of 30.2 Mtr (99.3 ft) from the river bed and a length of 366 Mtr (1201 ft). A concrete Dam uses its weight to balance the force applied on it by the water on it. It holds back water by using its sheer weight only; therefore, the design of a gravity dam must ensure that the dam has enough weight to balance the force of water pushing against it.

The dam houses 14 Tainter type crest gates of 9.14m x 3.14m having a discharge capacity of 3852 cubic mtr/second and 2 Butterfly type under sluice gates of 1.66m X 1.02m with a total discharge capacity of 14.2 cubic mtr/sec. A Tainter gate is a flood control gate build in a dam in order to containing and regulately releasing of water from the source i.e. river or reservoir.

The side view of a Tainter gate resembles the quarter portion of a pizza i.e. a triangle with a curved base. The curved face of the gate is exposed to the source i.e. high level water while the tip points to the destination or lower pool. The pressure on the curved surface passes through the centre of an imaginary circle making the operation of the gate easy.

A butterfly type sluice gate is a vertically mounted gate mainly of metal having wedges which could be raised and dropped with help of a suitable manual or electric mechanism so as to allow the water to pass or restrict the flow. The butterfly type sluice gates are provided with an objective of serving irrigation during dry season.

The Tilaiya Dam houses Tilaiya Hydroelectric Power house with a total installed capacity of 2X2 MW located at the junction of the downstream face of the dam with the ground surface also technically called as the ‘toe of the dam’. The Power house has 2 Francis turbines of Mitsubishi make with each having a capacity of 2MW and rated speed of 250 RPM.

 

Reservoir and Catchment Area of Talaiya Dam

The dam is surrounded by cultivated and waste lands, forests and has a catchment area of 984 sq Km (380 sq miles). The reservoir has an area of around 6 Hectares at Full Reservoir Level (FRL) with a volume of 394 million cubic meters and an average depth of 6.65 meters. The reservoir’s dead storage level is 75 million cubic meters and conservation storage of 141 Million Cubic Meters. The flood management storage of the reservoir is 165 million cubic meters.

Advantages of Tilaiya Dam

Tilaiya Dam along with the other three dams at Konar, Panchet and Durgapur have a total capacity of reducing floods from around 6.5 lac cusec ( cubic feet per second) to around 2.5 lac cusec. All the four reservoirs have a flood reserve capacity of 1292 million cubic meters with Tilaiya Dam alone has a flood reserve capacity of 165 million cubic meters.

The water stored in the Tilaiya Reservoir and the other three reservoirs is supplied to many industries and is also used for domestic and farming purposes in the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. The electricity generated by the hydroelectric station is used my meat and other industries as well as domestic and agricultural purposes.

Tilaiya Dam is a prime source of fishing activity and is developed by the fisheries department of Jharkhand. Species of fish like- Katla and Rohu are supplied to nearby towns and districts and thereby provide employment and livelihood opportunities to those associated with the business.

The Indian Postal Service issued a stamp of value of 1 anna (1/16th of a rupee) on 26th January 1955; depicting Talaiya Dam. Tilaiya Dam along with other dams of Damodar Valley Development Corporation held much emotion and pride for the people of India as they were seen as the symbols of a great technological achievement and self reliance.

FAQs about the First Multipurpose Dam in India (Tilaiya Dam)

Q1) Which is the first multipurpose dam built in India?

Ans- Tilaiya Dam was the first multipurpose Dam built in India?

Q2) In which Indian state is the Tilaiya Dam located?

Ans- Tilaiya Dam is located in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

Q3) In which district is the Tilaiya Dam located?

Ans- Tilaiya Dam is located in the Koderma district of Jharkhand.

Q4) On which river is the Tilaiya Dam built?

Ans- The Dam is built across Barakar River which is a main tributary of Damodar River.

Q5) Of which river is the Barakar River a tributary?

Ans- Barakar is a main tributary of the Damodar River.

Q6) Where did the Barakar River originates?

Ans- Barakar River originates in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.

Q7) Which River was called the ‘sorrow of India ‘and why?

Ans- Damodar River was known as the sorrow of India due to regular floods.

Q8) Which is the nearest railway station to the dam and how far is it from the dam?

Ans- Koderma railway station at a distance of 16 Km from the dam.

Q9) What is the drainage area of Damodar River Valley?

Ans- The Damodar valley has a total drainage area of 22005 sq km.

Q10) How much is the average rainfall received in the Damodar River Valley?

Ans- The valley receives an average annual rainfall of 1400 mm.

Q11) Why was the Dam built?

Ans- Dam was built to contain floods, provide navigation, improve irrigation and generate electricity.

Q12) When was Damodar Flood Enquiry Committee was appointed and by whom?

Ans- The committee was appointed by the then governor of West Bengal- John Herbert in 1943.

Q13) The Committee’s report was inspired by which another authority?

Ans- The committee suggested the formation of a separate body on the lines of Tennessee Valley Authority, United States.

Q14) Who prepared the draft project report of the Damodar Valley Multipurpose project?

Ans- Senior Engineer of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)- W.L. Voorduin.

Q15) When was the ‘Damodar Valley Corporation’ formed?

Ans- Damodar Valley Corporation was formed in 1948.

Q16) What were the main objectives of the corporation?

Ans- Take steps to contain flood and use water for irrigation, electricity generation and promote commercial activity in the Damodar valley region.

Q17) Which four dams were constructed by the Damodar Valley Corporation?

Ans- Maithon and Panchet, Tilaiya, Durgapur barrage and Konnar.

Q18) Which was the first dam to be built among the four?

Ans- Tilaiya Dam was the first to be constructed.

Q19) When was the Tilaiya Dam inaugurated?

Ans- The dam was inaugurated on Feb 21, 1953.

Q20) What type of Dam is Tilaiya Dam?

Ans- It is a concrete gravity Dam.

Q21) What is the height and length of Tilaiya Dam?

Ans- The dam has a a maximum height of 30.2 Mtr (99.3 ft) from the river bed and a length of 366 Mtr (1201 ft).

Q22) The Tilaiya Dam has how many Tainter type crest gates and what is their discharge capacity?

Ans- The Dam has 14 Tainter type crest gates of 9.14m x 3.14m having a discharge capacity of 3852 cubic mtr/second.

Q23) The Tilaiya Dam has how many butterfly type under sluice gates and what is their discharge capacity?

Ans- The Dam has 2 Butterfly type under sluice gates of 1.66m X 1.02m with a total discharge capacity of 14.2 cubic mtr/sec.

Q24) What is the prime purpose of the butterfly type sluice gates?

Ans- To provide water for irrigation during dry season.

Q25) How much is the total installed capacity of the Power house of the dam?

Ans- Total installed capacity of the Dam is 2X2 MW = 4 MW.

Q26) What kind of turbines does the power house uses?

Ans- Two Francis turbines of Mitsubishi make.

Q27) How much is the total catchment area of the dam?

Ans- Total catchment area of the dam is 984 sq km.

Q28) How much is the total Reservoir area at Full Reservoir Level (FRL)?

Ans- 6 Hectares at full reservoir level.

Q29) How much is the total volume of the reservoir?

Ans- Total volume of water held by the reservoir at FRL is 394 million cubic meters.

Q30) How much is the average depth of the reservoir?

Ans- Average depth of the reservoir is around 6.65 meters.

Q31) How much is the flood management storage of the reservoir?

Ans- The flood management storage of the Tilaiya reservoir is 165 million cubic meters.

Q32) How much flood is contained in terms of cusecs (cubic feet per second) by all the four dams of Damodar valley?

Ans- From 6.5 lac cusecs to around 2.5 lac cusecs.

Q33) How much is the combined flood reserve capacity of all the four reservoirs?

Ans- The four dams hold back 1292 million cubic meters of flood water to be used for commercial purposes.

Q34) For what purposes is the water from Tilaiya Dam used?

Ans- For industrial, agricultural and domestic consumption apart from generating electricity.

Q35) Which is a major commercial activity associated with the dam?

Ans- Fishing is promoted on large scale by the state’s fisheries department.

Q36) When was the stamp depicting Tilaiya Dam was issued and by which department?

Ans- By Indian Postal Services on 26th Jan 1955.

Q37) How much was the stamp priced at?

Ans- 1 anna equivalent to 1/16th of an Indian Rupee.