Chandigarh: The iconic Bhakra Dam, which made a major contribution to the Green Revolution to make the country self-sufficient in food grains, completed 50 years of its existence Tuesday.
A function was organized at Nangal township in Punjab, 110 km from here, to mark the occasion. A commemorative stamp on Bhakra Dam, the second one for this dam, was also released on the occasion.
The contribution of the dam was duly acknowledged by union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and other leaders present on the occasion.
Lauding the contribution of the dam and appreciating the role of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) for the smooth operation and maintenance of hydro-electric projects, Rawat announced a reward of two months` salary to all officers and staff of BBMB.
Addressing the gathering, Rawat said that the contruction of the Bhakra Dam paved the way for the Green Revolution and transformed states like Punjab and Haryana into granaries for the country.
BBMB chairman A.B. Agarwal said that the dam had changed the fortunes of the entire country.
"It gave the country its food and fruit bowl, energy for industrial expansion and domestic consumption besides saving people from the scourge of floods and famines. We take pride in celebrating five decades of ceaseless service to the nation," he added.
Called the "temple of a resurgent India" by first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhakra Dam was dedicated to the nation Oct 22, 1963. Nehru was so involved with the project that he visited the site 13 times during its construction phase.
Built on river Sutlej, the 225.55-metre high concrete dam was termed as a technological marvel when it was completed in 1963.
The dam itself is now located in Himachal Pradesh, close to the Punjab-Himachal border, 13 km from Nangal town.
The dam`s reservoir, named `Gobind Sagar` after tenth Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, is about 96.56 km long, and covers an area of about 168.35 sq km. It is the largest reservoir in India, the BBMB spokesman said.
Built at a cost of Rs.245.28 crore in 1963, the canal system of the Bhakra Dam irrigates 135 lakh acres of agricultural fields of food grain states Punjab and Haryana. The water from the dam helped during the Green Revolution in these states in the 1960s.
The water from the dam also reaches parts of Rajasthan.
The 1,361 MW electricity generated at its two power houses supplies power to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh through the northern grid.
Nehru held discussions on the Panchsheel Agreement with Chinese Premier Chou En Lai near the dam site.