Which is the Highest or Largest Dam in India

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Today’s article is about the highest dam in India.

People often get confused about the highest and longest dam in India. In today's article we are going to clear your confusion, so must read this article completely.

First of all, let us tell you that the total number of dams in India is approximately 5334. After China and America, India has the highest number of dams in the world.

First of all, let us know What a is dam and what is its use.

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What is a Dam and its Use

In simple words“A dam is a man-made barrier that stops the flow of water.” 

Dams generally serve the primary purpose of maintaining the availability of water. 

A dam can also be used to collect water which can be distributed equally among different locations.

Reservoirs created by dams not only prevent floods but also provide water for activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial uses, aquaculture, and navigation. 

Dams are also used to generate electricity. 

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Which is the Highest or Largest dam in India?

  • There are about 5334 dams in India, out of which the largest and the highest dam of India is the Tehri Dam. 
  • This dam is located in the Tehri district of Uttarakhand. 
  • The height of Tehri Damis is 261 m.
  • Tehri Dam is the highest dam not only in India but also in Asia. 
  • Tehri Dam was built at the confluence of two major rivers of the Himalayas, the Bhagirathi River, and the Bhilangana River.
  • Bhagirathi River is a tributary of the Ganga River.
  • It is the largest hydroelectric power plant in India (2400 MW). 
  • This is an embankment dam. 
  • Tehri Dam provides irrigation, water supply, and hydroelectric power generation of 1,000 MW.
  • The total expenditure for this project was 1 billion US dollars.
  • Its length is 575 meters (1,886 ft), the width of the summit is 20 meters (66 ft), and the width of the base is 1,128 m (3,701 ft). 
  • The dam creates a reservoir of 3.54 cubic kilometers (2,870,000 acre⋅ft) with a surface area of 52 square km (20 sq mi).
  • The electricity produced by Tehri Dam is distributed to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
  • This dam is to generate 2400 MW of power, irrigate 270,000 hectares of area, and provide 102.20 crore liters of drinking water per day to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

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History of Tehri Dam 

The preliminary investigation for the Tehri Dam Project under the ministry of Jawaharlal Nehru was completed in 1961 and its design was completed in 1972 with a power plant of 600 MW capacity based on studies.

Construction began in 1978 but was delayed due to financial, environmental, and social impacts.

In 1986, technical and financial assistance was provided to India by the USSR, But years later it was interrupted due to political instability. 

India was forced to take control of the project and at first placed it under the direction of the Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh. However, in 1988 Tehri Hydro Development Corporation was formed to manage the dam. 

The construction work of Tehri Dam was completed in 2006.

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In the construction of Tehri Dam, 75% of the funds were provided by the Central Government and 25% by the State Government. 

On 21 November 2019, the Government of India approved the acquisition of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) by NTPC Limited.

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Environmental issues related to Tehri Dam

The Tehri Dam project was opposed by environmental organizations and local people of the area. Lawyer and founder of Tehri Dam Anti-Sangharsh Samiti Virendra Dutt Saklani drew people's attention to the results associated with this big project.

Environmental activist Sunderlal Bahuguna led the anti-Tehri dam movement from 1980 to 2004.

The protest was mainly against the displacement of residents there and the environmental consequences of building such a large dam in the delicate ecosystem of the Himalayan foothills.

Sunderlal Bahuguna gave a slogan in protest against Tehri Dam - which is as follows, "We don’t want a dam. The dam is the destruction of the mountain."

He led a long legal battle over the relocation and resettlement rights of over 100,000 people from the area and this also delayed the completion of the project.

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One of the reasons for the opposition to this dam was that due to the construction of this dam, the flow of the Bhagirathi River became much less than normal. Due to this, the local residents protested against it. 

The Chopra Committee had also warned in a detailed report against the construction of this dam that it could lead to the retreat of glaciers in the state of Uttarakhand.

Which, combined with structures built for hydropower generation and dams, can cause large-scale disasters. 

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Danger from Dam construction 

Let us tell you that dams can be as dangerous as they are beneficial for us. This is the reason why many people are in favor of it and many people oppose it. 

Dams are seen as the biggest threat to river ecology, wildlife, fish habitat, and ultimately humans.

Aquatic life is affected by dams. 

Due to dam construction, people have to be displaced from their places of residence on a large scale and the rehabilitation of people is often ignored by the government. Due to this, the normal life of the people is greatly affected. 

Dams sometimes become the cause of disasters due to which dams are considered as 'high risk' infrastructure.

The natural flow of rivers is disrupted by dams. 

Reservoirs created by dams sometimes also become the cause of earthquakes. 

Dams that become older become more dangerous because their efficiency declines and they also cost more to maintain. 

There are about 200 dams in India which are more than 100 years old.

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The danger posed by Tehri Dam 

Tehri Dam Project is located in the central region of the Himalayas. An earthquake of 6.8 to 8.5 magnitude has been estimated to occur in this area.

The area was the site of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in October 1991, whose epicenter was 53 km (33 mi) from the dam.

Proponents of the dam claim the complex is designed to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.4, but some seismologists say the area could be hit by earthquakes of magnitude 8.5 or greater.

If this happens, the dam breach will submerge many cities with a population of around half a million.

Environmentalists believe that the breach of Tehri Dam will pose a great threat to cities like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Bijnor, Meerut, and Bulandshahr and these cities will be submerged.

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Now, If you are asked which is the largest and highest dam of India, then you can easily answer - Tehri Dam.

Now let's know Which is the longest dam of India.

Which is the longest Dam of India: Hirakund Dam

  • Hirakud Dam is the longest dam in India. 
  • This dam is built on Mahanadi, 15 km away from Sambalpur in the state of Orissa.
  • This is the longest earthen dam in the world. 
  • The total length of this dam is 25.8 km (16.0 mi) while the total length of the main dam is 4.8 km (3.0 mi) 
  • It drains an area of 133,090 km (32.89 × 106 acres), which is more than twice the area of Sri Lanka.
  • The total height of this dam is 60.96 (200) feet. 
  • This dam is used for power generation and irrigation.
  • Hirakud Dam has three canals, Main Canal Bargarh, Sasan Canal, and Sambalpur Canal.
  • Electricity generation along with agricultural irrigation started in 1956
  • This project provides power to the 'Rourkela Steel Plant'.
  • Due to the embankment of the dam, an artificial lake of 743 square km in length has been formed. It is called 'Hirakud'. It is the largest artificial lake in Asia.
  • It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects undertaken after India's independence.
  • Hirakud Reservoir was declared a Ramsar site on 12 October 2021.
    The total cost of the project in 1957 was ₹1,000.2 million. 

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The interesting fact about Hirakund Dam: Do you know that the amount of soil, concrete, and other materials used in the construction of Hirakud Dam can build a road about eight meters wide from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Amritsar to Dibrugarh.

History of Hirakud Dam

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of Hirakud Dam on 12 April 1948.

However, the dam was completed in 1953 and formally opened on January 13, 1957, It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 19 February 1997 and has been fully functional since then. 

After reading this article it must have become clear to you that The largest and highest dam in India is the Tehri Dam While the longest dam in India is Hirakud Dam.

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Highest Dam of India: FAQ'S

Q.1 Which is the largest dam in India?

Ans. The largest dam in India is the Tehri Dam. 

Q.2 Which is the largest dam in Asia?

Ans. The largest and highest dam in Asia is also Tehri Dam. 

Q.3 How many dams are there in India?

Ans. As of July, 2019, the total number of large dams in India is 5,334.

Q.4 Which is the longest dam in India and on which river is it built?

Ans. Hirakud Dam is the longest dam in India. 


In today's article, we have given you information about both the highest or largest dam and the longest dam in India.
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