3rd Five Year Plan
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Chapter 24:

Irrigation and power have been among the most significant fields of development since the beginning of the First Plan. Expansion, of irrigation, from large as well as small projects, is an essential condition for diversifying agriculture and increasing crop yields. The development of power is a prerequisite for carrying out large industrial programmes. River valley projects like Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Chambal, Tunga-bhadra, Nagarjunasagar and the D.V.C., which provide both irrigation and power, have, along with other programmes of development, a leading role in establishing higher levels of well-being in the regions served by them. Thus, large-scale development of irrigation and power, helps to re-build the agricultural economy and to pave the way for the rapid industrialisation of the country.


2. The available river water resources of the country were computed in 1950 at about 1356 million acre feet, of which it is estimated that because of physiographical conditions, only about 450 million acre feet can be used for irrigation. Up to 1951, about 76 million acre feet. i.e. about 17 per cent of the usable flow or 5.6 per cent of the total annual flow, had been utilised. By the end of the Second Plan, it is estimated that about 120 million acre feet representing about 27 per cent of the usable flow or 8.9 per cent of the total annual flow will be utilised. An additional 40 million acre feet are likely to be used in the Third Plan, bringing the proportion to about 36 per cent of the usable flow.

3. Substantial supplies are available from groud water sources. No inventory of these resources has been prepared so far. but a Ground Water Exploration Project was started in 1953 to carry out exploratory drillings in areas which held out promise of ground water availability, namely, inland river basins, coastal fringes, etc. Generally speaking, the Tndo-Gangetic basin, the Sabarmati basin and coastal areas in Madras and Aidhra Pradesh offer favourable scope for ground water development. Ground water can be utilised for irrigating areas which cannot be economically irrigated bv canals, or which are susceptible to water-logging.

4. Land utilisation at the end of the First Plan was as follows :

(million acres)

gross area 806
culturable area 476
net area sown 318
area sown more than once 45
total cropped area 363
ret area irrigated*:
government canals 19-8
private canals 3-4
tanks 10-9
tubewells and other wells 16-7
other sources 5-4
total 56 -2 say 56
area irrigated more than once 7
gross area irrigated** 63

5. At the beginning of the First Plan, the area irrigated from all sources was 51.5 million acres, of which 22 million acres were irrigated from large and medium projects. It has been estimated that by the end of the Fifth Plan (1975-76), it might be possible to bring about 85 million acres (gross) under irrigation from large and medium projects including multipurpose projects. In formulating proposals for the Third Plan, this long-range goal has; been kept in view. The overall ultimate irrigation potentialities from majorŪ and medium irrigation projects are expected to be about 100 million acres (gross) and from minor irrigation including small tanks, tubewells, open wells, etc., about 75 million acres (gross). Major and medium schemes benefit large and extensive areas, give more assured protection in years of scarcity and also can often be designed to serve a multiplicity of purposes. Minor schemes require comparatively small outlays, yield quick results and can be executed speedily with local resources. But the protection afforded by them is liable to be substantially cut short in drought years when protection is needed most. In particular, tanks fail to store water when there is failure of rainfall. in the locality. Balanced development of major and medium irrigation schemes and minor irrigation schemes is essential as they form part of a composite irrigation programme. Each area has to be served by the kind of schemes for which it is best suited, and which will give the best results at minimum cost.

* Net irrigated area is the area irrigated in a year counting the area which receives irrigation for more than ona crop once only.
** Gross irrigated area represents the total of cropped areas irrigated in a year, i.e. net irrigated area added to the area under subsequent crops irrigated during the year.
@ Irrigation projects costing more than Rs. 5 crores each are classed as -mjor schemes and those casting between Rs. 5 crores and Rs. 10 lakhs as medium schemes. Schemes costing Rs. 10 lakhs or less are classed as minor schemes, provided they do not form part of any existing major or medium scheme.

6. Development of irrigation.—The progress of irrigation up to the end of the First and Second Plans and the targets for the Third Plan are shown in the Table bslow :

Table 1 Area irrigated
(net area in million acres)

1950-51 1955-56 1960-61 1965-66
major and medium irrigation 22-0 24-9 31.0 43-5
minor irrigation 29-5 31-3 39-0 47-4
total 51'5 56-2 70-0 90-0


7. The aggregate estimated cost of major and medium irrigation schemes included in the First and Second Plans is of the order of Rs. 1,400 crores, and on full development, they are expected to irrigate about 38 million acres. By the end of the First Plan, an outlay of Rs. 380 crores had been incurred on these schemes. The outlay on them in the Second Plan is estimated at Rs. 370 crores. In the Third Plan, these schemes will require a total outlay of about Rs. 436 crores, leaving a balance of about Rs. 214 crores for the Fourth Plan. Some of the projects such as the Rajasthan Canal, Gandak, Ukai, Narmada, Nagarjunasagar, etc., will continue beyond the Third Plan.

8. Irrigation benefits accruing from the First and Second Plan schemes, at the end of the First Plan, and during the Second Plan are given in the Table below :

Table 2 Benefits from irrigation schemes

end of the year potential* at channel outlets
(in million acres)
gross area irrigated net area irrigated
(in million actes) as percentage of potential at outlet (in million acres)
1955-56 6-5 3-1 48 2-9
1956-57 7-4 4-2 58 3-4
1957-58 8-2 5-8 71 4.9
1958-59 9-7 6-5 67 5-9
1959-60 11.5 8-3 72 7-4
1960-61 (estimated) 13-2 10-0 76 9-0

The distribution, by States, of the ultimate benefits from major and medium irrigation schemes of the First and Second Plans, the potential expected to be created by the end of Second Plan and the corresponding utilisation is shown in Annexure I.

9. In the Second Plan, it was proposed to bring under irrigation an additional area of 12 million acres from major and medium projects. When the Plan was reviewed in 1958, this was reduced to 10.4 million acres. The additional utilisation, as now estimated by States, is expected to be 6.9 miilion acres (gross). As against the outlay originally envisaged for the Second Plan, the actual outlay is about Rs. 370 crores. In several States, the programmes lagged behind on account of inadequacy of technical personnel. In some cases, progress was retarded owing to short supplies of essential materials, such as steel, cement, coal, etc. Also, in the past, under pressure of local or regional demands, some projects have been commenced despite incomplete investigations and inadequate surveys, and this has resulted in these projects lingering on with consequent delay in accrual of benefits from them. Increases in wages and costs of materials Iiave also led to a reduction in the physical achievement anticipated from the outlay. There has been an improvement in the pace of utilisation in the Second Plan as will be seen from Table 2. Larger results, however, could have been achieved if greater attention had been given to the timely excavation of field channels** and demonstration to the cultivators, in advance, of improved techniques of agriculture and tlie most suitable cropping pattern to be adopted on irrigation facilities becoming available. In the course of the preparation of the Third Plan, considerable emphasis has been placed on the strengthening of technical organisations and on taking such other steps as would ensure that progress during the Plan period is not hampered.


10. It is essential to secure maximum benefits in the shortest time from the large investments that are being made on irrigation projects. It is also important to ensure that the benefits which accrue from these projects are not diminished through deterioration of land clue to water-logging and inadeauate drainage or other causes. Emphasis has. therefore, been given in the Third Plan to the following categories of schemes :

  1. completion of continuing schemes of the Second Plan ri,"ht up to the cultivators' fields, i.e., including field channels
  2. drainage and aini-waterlogging schemes ; and
  3. medium irrigation projects.

* Irrigation potential is the area which can be irrigated with the water made available at chainel outlets.
** The term "field channel' refers to a heannel which coveys or distributes water from an outlet or opening in a watercourse for irrigation of fields.

11. The total irrigation potential remaining to be utilised at the end of the Second Plan is 3.2 million acres. During the Third Plan. additional irrigation potential of about 13.8 million acres is expected to be created from continuing schemes and 2.4 million acres from new schemes of the Third Plan. The total utilisation in the Third Plan period is expected to be 12.8 million acres (gross). The State-wise distribution of irrigation pontential and utilisation is shown in Annexure I, in making, this assessment, the States have generally assumed full utilisation within a period of five years in the case of major projects, and within two to three years in the case of medium projects, from the time water becomes available at outlets of channels. It should be possible in several pi ejects, through closer coordination of efforts in connected fields to do better.

12. The cost of the irrigation and flood control programme during the Third Plan is Rs. 66T crores. This includes Rs. 436 crores for irrigation projects carried over from the Second Plan, Rs. 164 crores for new projects and Rs. 61 crores for flood control, drainage, anti-waterlogging and anti-sea-erosion schemes. The State-wise distribution is given in Annexures II and III. The new projects to be commenced during the Third Plan include :

  1. about 95 new medium irrigation schemes which will be of value both for agricultural and for regional development;
  2. storage schemes on the Beas in the Punjab undertaken as a result of the conclusion of The Indus Water Treaty 1960; and
  3. schemes representing the irrigation component of multi-purpose projects taken up primarily for power development, and those necessitated by irrigation programmes undertaken in neighbouring States, for instance, work on the Gandak Project in Uttar Pradesh.

13. The position in regard to phasing of expenditure on First, Second and Third Plan irrigation schemes is set out in the following Table :

Table 3 Phasing of expenditure
(Rs. crores)

total cost outlay before First Plan outlay in First Plan outlay in Second Plan outlay for Third Plan outlay required in Fourth Plan
First Plan schemes 790 80 300 270 135 5
Second Plan schemes (new) 610 100 301 209
Third Plan schemes (new) 364 164 209
total 1764 80 300 370 600 414

14. Flood-control, drainage, anti-waterlogging and anti-sea-erosion schemes.—Flood control, drainage and anti-waler-logging aie closely related to irrigation, and have to be viewed together in drawing up comprehensive development plans. At the time of the preparation of the Second Plan, sufficient data had not been collected for' preparing detailed proposals for flood control for inclusion in the Plans of States. The flood control programme was. in fact, taken up on an emergency basis, and was, therefore, treated as a Centrally sponsored programme. The flood control programme is now well under way and considerable progress has been made in surveys and investigations. In the Third Plan, therefore, flood control schemes, together with drainage, anti-water-logging and anti-sea-erosion schemes form part of the Plans of States.

15. The importance of providing adequate drainage in irrigated areas to prevent their deterioration by rising ground water table and consequent waterlogged conditions has already been emphasised earlier. The cost of drainage works in irrigated areas in the case of continuing and new schemes has to be included in the project costs of these irrigation schemes. Waterlogging in certain parts of the country, particularly in the Punjab, has become serious, and anti-waterlogging measures such as drains, lining of irrigation channels in selected reaches, and other steps to depress the ground water table, have to be taken up in the Third Plan on an extensive scale. Similarly, anti-sea-erosion measures in certain coastal reaches, such as Kerala have to be given due attention. An outlay of Rs. 60 crores was provided in the Second Plan for flood control schemes. The actual expenditure ia about Rs. 48 crores. In the Third Plan, hood control, drainage, anti-waterlogging and anti-sea-erosion schemes involving an outlay of Rs. 61 crores have been provided for in the Plans of States.

16. The programme for Irrigation in the Third Plan, which includes flood control, drainage, anti-waterlogging and anti-sea-erosion, entails a total estimated outlay of Rs. 661 crores. The distribution of this amount and the corresponding benefits under different heads are as follows :—

Table 4 Programme and benefits in the Third Plan

group estimated outlay additional benefits
(Rs. crores) potential gross irrigated area
(in million acres)
continuing schemes 436 13-8 11-65
new schemes 164 2-4 1-15
total 600 16-2 net are 12-80 iall.50
flood control, drainage, anti-waterlogging and anti-sea-erosion schemes 61 about 5 million acres to be benefited and 25 miles of sea coast to be protected.
total irrigation and flood control 661

The requirement of foreign exchange for irrigation projects hi the Third Plan has been estimated at Rs. 50 crores. The particulars of important irrigation projects continuing from tlie First and Second Plans and those included in the Third Plan are given in Annexures IV and V.

17. Soil conservation in river valley catchments.—Large sums of money are being invested in creating storage reservoirs for irrigation and power generation. It is important that the life of these reservoirs is not unduly shortened by excessive flows of silt and sediment from the catchment areas. Also, soil cover in the catchment area has to be conserved. These considerations make it imperative that adequate soil conservation measures comprising afforestation, contour bunding, terracing, gully plugging, construction of check dams, regulation of grazing prevention of shifting cultivation, etc., should be undertaken in these catchments. Taking only the larger river valley projects, viz. Bhakra-Nangal, D.V.C., Hirakud, Chambal and Mach-kund, the total catchment area for these is about 37 million acres, of which more than 15 million acres require soil conservation measures. The programme lias also to be extended to other river valleys. In the projects mentioned above, an area of about 1.4 lakh acres has been covered by soil conservation programme undertaken up to the end of the Second Plan at a cost of about Re. 1 crore. In the Third Plan, an outlay of Rs. 11 crores has been provided under "Agriculture" for soil conservation works in river valley areas and about a million acres of catchment area are expected to be covered. The programme of soil conservation is necessarily of a long-term character to be completed over four or five Plan periods. Administrative responsibility for this programme at the Centre rests with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Central Water and Power Commission have set up a special unit for examining and advising on soil conservation schemes for river valley tatchments received from the State Governments. T'he establishment of River Boards, to which reference is made later, will facilitate speedy implementation of the soil conservation programme. It will be one of their main functions to coordinate programmes of alforestation and control of soil erosion in inter-State river valleys.

18. Phasing of projects.—It is of utmost importance that projects should be correctly phased, This will lead to economy in construction costs and will also make it possible to secure the maximum use of irrigation facilities created, even before the actual completion of each project. It will also prevent unnecessary locking up of capital on items of work in advance of actual need. There are four aspects connected with planning for irrigation works which are interlinked and these should be appropriately coordinated from the time a project is first approved. These are :

  1. construction of the dam or barrage tor storing or diverting water;
  2. construction of the canal and distributary system ending with definite and convenient points of offtake for individual villages ;
  3. completion by beneficiaries, according to a time schedule coordinated with (2) above, of field chanek in every village so as to irrigate the entire area to be served by the project as water becomes available in the canals; and
  4. adoption of improved agricultural practices and new crop patterns, so that the maximum agricultural output is secured from efficient use of irrigation facilities.

Careful coordination in planning and execution between these different stages will ensure that phase by phase under each project effective results are obtained.


19. Irrigation works constructed in recent years and those under construction at present, are much more expensive than works built in the past, partly on account of higher costs of labour and materials and partly on account of the more ditficult and, therefore, more expensive means of making supplies available, viz., high dams, etc. For this reason, ana also on account ol me increased cost of maintenance and operation of old and new projects, adequate returns are not being secured. In consequence, irrigation systems are at present working at a loss in almost all States. The Second Finance Commission drew attention to the deterioration which nad occurred in the net receipts from irrigation projects. the position has even worsened in recent years. Special steps to bring about substantial improvements in financial returns are, therefore, urgently called for along the following lines :

  1. speeding up utilisation of irrigation facilities created by irrigation projects;
  2. revision of water rates and introduction of compulsory water cess;
  3. recovery of betterment levy ; and
  4. economy in the use of irrigation supplies.

20. Utilisation of irrigation involves efforts by a number of departments, each of which has a distinct contribution to make, e.g. Irrigation, Revenue, Agriculture, Community Development, Cooperation, etc. Besides proper pnasing of the construction programme of each project, including construction of held channels, a large number of other developmental activities have to be carried out simultaneously for speeding up utilisation, these aspects are considered further later in the chapter.

21. Water rates.—Water rates should ordinarily cover working expenses and debt charges and, outside scarcity areas, irrigation schemes should not involve loss to general revenues. The existing water rates in most States are relatively low. While there has been considerable increase in the value of crops produced as a result of irrigation, and maintenance costs have also greatly increased, there has not been commensurate increase in the water rates. On the whole, therefore, these require upward revision. Further, in States, where water charges are optional, there should be a compulsory water cess leviable on the entire area for which irrigation facilities are provided, irrespective of whether water is taken by cultivators or not. This itself will be a factor in inducing cultivators to make timely use of water, thereby promoting increased crop yields.

22. Betterment levy and flood cess.—Legislation for betterment levy has already been enacted in all States except Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. Recoveries at the prescribed rates are spread over a period of 15 to 20 years and commence two or three years after irrigation waters become available. Almost everywhere, enforcement of the legislation has lagged behind, and the actual realisations in the Second Plan are expected to be only Rs. 3.5 crores against the initial estimate of Rs. 47 crores. As regards flood-cess, the Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Mysore have enacted the necessary legislation, while the question is under consideration in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Madras does not have any serious flood problems. Promotion of necessary legislation in the remaining States and enforcement of legislation where it has already been passed. are essential steps to be taken to reach the estimate of Rs. 39 crores from betterment levy and flood cess during the Third Plan.

23. It is important that when an irrigation or a flood control project is proposed for a new area, the State authorities should place the broad outlines and advantages of the scheme before the agriculturists of lliat area, in particular, the structure of water rates, betterment levy, flood cess, etc., which have to be paid by the beneficiaries. Such education of public opinion is likely to result in quicker utilisation of irrigation and will also prepare the ground for acceptance of water rates and betterment levy by beneficiaries when the project materialises.

24. Evaluation of benefits.—While the financial return of an irrigation project is an important consideration, it does not by itself provide an adequate criterion for assessing the overall benefits of the project. In order to get an idea of the various benefits which accrue from irrigation projects, the Research Programme Committee, at the instance of the Planning Commission, initiated evaluation studies for five major irrigation works^-Gang Ganal in Rajasthan, Sarda Canal in U.P., Tribeni Canal in Bihar, Damodar Canal in West Bengal and Cauvery Mettur Project in Madras. These evaluation studies suggest that while several of the indirect benefits of irrigation cannot be assessed in precise quantitative terms, among the principal benefits to be taken into account, apart from the finacial returns to Government, are more extensive utilisation of land and other resources; adoption of a better cropping pattern and a shift to more valuable crops; creation of conditions favourable to fresh investment or an increase in productive investment in farm business; increase in farm productivity and stabilisation or enhancement of farm incomes; increased employment opportunities for labour; and stimulus to industry, especially processing industries, and to trade and transport. The studies also provide useful information on varous aspects of irrigation development.


25. In consequence of the lags which occurred in the utilisation of irrigation during the First and Second Plans, the Planning Commission has given much attention to the subject over the past two or three years. The following are the principal measures needed for securing speedy benefits from irrigation projects :

  1. It is essential that there should be synchronisation in the programmes for the construction of head-works; canals, distributaries, water-courses and field channels so as to ensure that as far as possible the irrigation waters can be passed down to the cultivators' fields about the same time as they become available at the head-works. The synchronisation of the construction programmes, except for field channels, is the direct responsibility of the project authorities;
  2. For speedy utilisation of these irrigation facilities, development blocks should be set up over the entire area to be served by an irrigation project as soon as possible after a project has been approved;
  3. In order to eliminate delay in the excavation of water-courses and field channels, their alignment should be marked out by the project authorities on village maps, and these maps should be supplied to the district and block authorities for getting the field channels excavated by the beneficiaries in good time. It is necessary to ensure that at the same time as the canal system is ready, the excavation of field channels by the beneficiaries is also completed. Acting as agents of Government, Panchayat Samitis and Village Panchayats should be empowered to carry out the works and recover costs in case of default:
  4. A large number of other developmental activities have to be carried out simultaneously. These include soil surveys, setting up of experimental farms for determining and evolving new cropping patterns, varities of crops, etc. and farms for demonstrating scientific irrigation practices, particularly the economical use of water. It is neccsary that officials of Irrigation departments should be well acquainted with agricultural practices and with the problems of cultivators. Arrangements should, therefore, be made to' impart in-service training to them for a few months. This knowledge will assist them in improving both the preparation and the operation of irrigation schemes;
  5. Economy in the use of water is a most important consideration. Distribution of water from canals on area basis, as practised at present, is not conducive to economy in the use of water. Distribution on volumetric basis is not practicable as metered outlets are expensive, and, even if installed, are liable to be tampered with. The Agriculture Department has to advise on irrigation practices suited to different crops and conditions of cultivation and should undertake the necessary investigations in each area. The water in canals saved in this manner could be utilised for more intensive irrigation and for providing water to new areas. Intensive educational work should be undertaken by the community development organisation at the block and village levels ;
  6. It is also essential for the Departments concerned to undertake advance planning in their respective fields, for instance, for the supply of improved seeds and fertilisers and development of local manurial resources, provision of larger credit and marketing facilities, establishment of warehouses and godowns and improvement of communications in the areas commanded by irrigation projects. This will make it possible for culcivators to realise optimum benefits from irrigation, thereby increasing their net income ;
  7. Concessional water rates are allowed in several States in the initial two or three years of a new irrigation project. This is a useful promotional measure and helps in speedy development of irrigation.

26. To ensure that planning in the various fields mentioned above is undertaken by the Departments concerned simultaneously with the planning of construction operations by the Irrigation Department, Development Committees consisting of representatives of all the Departments concerned are being set up by State Governments. There should be close consultation between different Departments from the earliest stage, and each Departmtnt's programme should embody within it, in respect of every important irrigation project, adequate provision for carrying out its specific responsibilities^ At the district level, the Collector should coordinate the work of the various Departments in order to ensure speedy utilisation of irrigation facilities from irrigation schemes serving the district.


27. River valley projects require elaborate investigations. For integrated development of water and land resources of the country on a planned basis, and to ensure continuity in the development of water resources, adequate information regarding technoiogical possibilities namely, suitable project sites, hydrological data, irrigable areas, etc. for all feasible projects in a river basin should be available in advance, so that projects can be selected properly and given appropriate priority. Master plans for the long-term development of irrigation should be prepared in each State to bring out clearly the ultimate potentialities of various irrigation and multi-purpose schemes. Although special investigation units have already been set up in almost all the States, adequate progress in the investigation and preparation ot projects has .not been made, even in respect of projects included in the Second Plan. it is essential that in the Third Plan there should be much greater emphasis on thorough investigation of schemes. including soil surveys of the commanded area, and completion of project reports in all important respects. For this purpose, investigation units in the States should be strengthened. Schemes, which may be proposed for consideration in the Fourth Plan by the State Governments, should be thoroughly investigated well in time, and project reports prepared for them in the course of the Third Plan itself. Certain improvements in the preparation and presentation of project reports have been recently introduced. These specify various technical, financial and other aspects which should be dealt with adequately in project reports before decisions are taken and construction is undertaken.

28. To supplement the efforts of States in preparing their master plans for irrigation, preliminary studies for suitable projects sites in different river basins in the country are being carried out from contour maps by the Central Water and Power Commission. These are made available to States for comment before being finalised. Field investigation.s and surveys in respect of these schemes would normally have to be carried out by the State Governments, to decide which of the schemes should receive relative priority for carrying out detailed investigations and preparation of project reports. The Central Water and Power Commission have completed prelim'.nary studies for certain river basins, viz. Chambal, Ramganga. Sone, Tamba-raparni and Vaigai rivers, etc. Studies for other important river basins are in different stages of progress and are expected to be completed during the Third Plan period.

29. Research.—Research in the fteld of irrigation and hydraulic enaineei-ing is being conducted in Central Water and Power Research Station at Poona and fifteen othsr research stations in the States. These stations are engaged in research in applied engineering, on problems connected with irrigation works, hydraulics and soils, etc.. as well as fundamental research. With the larger programmes of development now being undertaken, the activities of these organisations have also been expanding. The basic research carried out under the Second Plan included such problems as turbulence, cavitation in hydraulic structures; design of channels, engineering properties of soils, air entrainment in concrete. sub-soil now. sedimentation in streams and reservoirs, river protection works, instrumentation, etc. The research programmes are coordinated by the Central Board of Irrigation and Power. In the Third Plan, the programme of irrigation research is being broadened to include, amongst others, the following new problems :

  1. utilisation of isotopes in sub-soil investigations ; -
  2. development of techniques in pre-cast hydraulic structures :
  3. minimising loss of head through improvement of trashracks. penstocks, etc. . and
  4. experimental methods ol stress analysis in hydraulic structures ; and
  5. investigation on compaction of different soils in wet conditions and standing water, with particular reference to construction of earthen dams.

An outlay of Rs. 120 iakhs has been provided in the Third Plan for the programmes of fundamental research in irrigation.

30. Designs organisations.—Large investments are being made on irrigation projects and it is, therefore, essential to ensure tlie maximum possible economies in the cost of construction by adopting improved techniques in design and construction and by proper choice of construction materials. It is recommended that every State should have a strong designs organisation, which, by working in conjunction with the research organisation, can produce the most suitable and economical designs. At the Centre, the Central Water and Power Commission has the organisation to render assistance to States in preparing designs of the more complicated structures.

31. River Boards.—River basins, especially those of the larger rivers, naturally extend beyond the boundaries of individual States. In some cases, the most suitable site for harnessing the water resources of a river involving, for instance less submergence of land or smaller cost of construction, may lie in one State, while the area receiving irrigation or power benefits may lie in another State. For integrated and economic development of water resources, arrangements for inter-State cooperation are. therefore, essential. An important aspect whicil has to be considered in the lone term planning of water resources is that. as industrialisation advances. the requirements of water supply for industries and for the growing urban populations will constitute major problems in development. The setting up of River boards for important river basins, as envisaged in the River Boards Act. 1956. would enable a coordinated view to be taken of the needs of a river basin as a whole, including soil conservation in the catchment area. Steps to establish River Boards for the inore important rivers are being taken in consultation with the Stales.

32. Public co-operation.—Flood control, drainage. anti-waterlogging and anti-sea-erosion schemes as also certain portion of irrigation works are especially suited for people's participation. These schemes involve mostly work which does not require any great skill on the part of most of the workers. They are also generally located at convenient distances from the villages benefited by these schemes. It is important that beneficiaries should be persuaded to contribute towards these schemes by offering voluntary labour and/or money in lieu thereof. These works should be carried out in close cooperation with Ihe local organisations, especially the Panchayat Samitis and the Village Panchayats. To the greatest extent possible. labour cooperatives should be utilised. Voluntary organisations such as Ihe Bharat Sevak Samaj can also help, for instance, in maintaining supplies of tools, obtaining contracts from the Departments concerned, and arranging for the execution of works and for the welfare of the workers. Community development organisations have an important role in these matters. They should foster a climate which will arouse the enthusiasm of the people, enlist their participation and give them a sense of partnership in the projects. They should also educate the people in their obligations as well as in the adoption of improved methods of agriculture thereby enabling them to derive the maximum benefits from irrigation.

33. Use of manual labour and machinery.— The use of construction machinery on river valley projects should be viewed against the background of the large manpower resources available in the country and the urgent need for providing gainful employment. Extensive use of machinery imposes much strain on foreign exchange resources. Ordinarily, construction of projects should be carried out manually, unless resort to manual labour delays completion of the work abnormally, or adds to its cost prohibitively. Where necessary, judicious use of 'machinery and equipment to assist manual labour may be resorted to. Stress should be laid on the necessity of improving the techniques of manual labour to achieve greater efficiency and speed in construction. These aspects should be considered carefully and in detail in respect of the projects included in the Third Plan.

34. Maintenance of existing works.—Before Independence, Irrigation Departments were primarily engaged in the maintenance and operation of existing irrigation works, as few new irrigation works were being taken up. Under the first two plans, however, large-scale programmes in irrigation have been initiated. With this change, resulting in more attention being given to construction works than to maintenance and operation, a degree of deterioration in the standards of maintenance of irrigation channels appears to have taken place. A contributory cause for this is that financial provisions for maintenance of existing channels have not been increased in many cases to the extent justified by increase in wages for labour and the costs of materials. The -cumulative effect over a period of the resulting deterioration is likely to be serious. While it is important to increase irrigation facilities by constructing new projects, it is equally important that maximum benefits should be derived from existing facilities by efficient maintenance and operation.

35. Technical personnel.—Adequacy of properly trained technical personnel at ail levels is an essential requirement for the satisfactory implementation of irrigation and power programmes. The following Table gives details regarding employment of engineers on irrigation and power programmes at the end of Second Plan :

Table 5 Estimate of employment of technical personnel in the Second Plan

cateagory of engineers degres-holders diploma-holders total
civil 5600 15900 21500
electrical 4200 6400 10600
mechanical 1100 1900 3000
total 10900 24200 35100

The additional requirement of engineers for the irrigation and power programmes in the Third Plan is estimated as below :

Table 6 Estimated additional requirement of technical personnel in the Third Plan

category of engineers degree-holders diploma holders Total
civil 2300 6703 9000
electrical 2800 4400 7200
mechanical 800 1100 1900
total 5900 12200 18100

It is expected that, while the availability of degree-holders in the Third Plan would be adequate, there might be a slight sliortage of diploma-holders, which would be met by suitable expansion of training facilities during the first two years of the Plan. In addition, for efficient operation and maintenance of costly eartlimoving equipment, it is necessary to have properly trained operators and mechanics to handle them. Arrangements have been made for the training of operators and mechanics in two Technical Training Centres set up at the project sites at Kotah (Rajasthan) and Nagarjunasagar (Andhra Pradesh) by the Central Government.

36. Control Boards.—Control Boards have already been set up for some of the larger projects under execution, namely. Bhakra, Chambal, Rihand, Kosi, Hirakud, Nagarjunasagar, Tungabhadra. Rajasthan Canal and Koyna. The functions of these Control Boards are to ensure the efficient and economical planning and implementation of the projects, including optimum and speedy utilisation of benefits accruing from them at different stages. Several large projects are being taken up in the Third Plan. For some of these, it would be helpful to set up Control Boards as soon as the projects are approved. This suggestion is being examined in collaboration with the States concerned. For other large projects, for which no Control Boards are set up, there should be arrangements for periodical review by the Ministry of Irrigation and Power with a view to removing bottlenecks and ensuring speedy implementation.



37. Electricity can be generated from any one of the primary .sources of energy available in India : coal, lignite, water falls, uranium and thorium, oil, natural and refinery gases. Tidal power, wind power, geo-thermal power and solar radiations are other possible sources but their impact on electricity development in India has been insignificant so far.

38. A large proportion of the total workable reserves of coal estimated at 50,000 million tons for the entire country, is confined to Bihar and West Bengal with small outlying fields in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Besides, lignite deposits estimated at about 2000 million tons are known to occur in parts of Madras, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, Reserves of good quality coal required for metallurgical and other industries are, however, limited thus necessitating the setting up of coal washeries. Poor quality coal with high ash content and middlings from coal washeries cannot be transported economically over long distances and is best burnt in stationary boilers of power stations. Furnace oil could be utilised in boilers of steam power stations in lieu of coal. Oil refineries are being located at Gauhati in Assam, Barauni in Bihar and Cambay in Gujarat in addition to those existing at Digboi, Vishakhapatnam and Bombay. In order to nrn'mise costs of carriage and to avoid strain on the transport system, it is desirable to locate steam power stations in the vicinity of collieries, washeries and refineries. In view of the high cost of power generation in diesel power stations and in view also of the need for reducing import of diesel oil. expansion of this type of generation will be confined mainly to isolated locations and small nursery schemes or for peaking purposes. Refinery, blast furnace and coke-oven gases are used for power generation in a few cases. Reserves of natural gas have also been discovered in Nahorkatiya in Assam. It is proposed to utilise this gas, amongst other things, for generation of power during the Third Plan.

39. Installation of large thermal units employing higher steam temperatures and pressures would result not only in increased thermal efficiencies but also in reduction of capital costs per kW of installed capacity. The thermal efficiencies attainable with modern plants of 30, 60, 100 and 120 MW units are of the order of 26, 29, 32 and 34 percent respectively. The capital cost per kW of installed capacity of 120 MW units is about 20 percent cheaper than for 30 MW units. In India the overall efficiency of thermal power stations in 1959-60 was 19.5 percent because many of the units were small and old. With the general adoption and operation of larger units, the overall thermal efficiency is expected to improve considerably, thus enabling more kilowatt-hours to be produced from each ton of coal utilised.

40. Hydro-electric generation is of importance as, compared to coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear fuels which have to be consumed in order to produce energy, flowing water is an inexhaustible soure of energy. In 1953. the Central Water and Power Commission undertook the task of systematically assessing the total power potential of rivers in the country. The possible hydro-electric sites were located on topographical mans and on the basis of available data on rainfall, run-off and river gauging, and allowing for other uses of the waters of these rivers, such as, irrigation, flood control, navigation, etc. a total hydroelectric potential of about 41 million kW has been assessed as technically and economically feasible.

41. It has been estimated that the thorium reserves in the country are among the largest in the world and are more extensive than those of uranium. In order to utilise thorium, the nuclear power programme in India has to be carried out in three stases. which is time-consuming. The first staee will utilise natural uranium as fuel, producing power and the fissile element plutonium. The second stage will employ reactors using plutonium as fuel and throium as fertile material, producing power and converting part of the thorium into U-233. The third stage will use U-233 with thorium in breeder reactors, so that while electricity is generated, more U-233 is produced than is burnt up in the process. According to certain tentative estimates the cost of generation of electricitv in thi's stage is expected to be lower than in the other two stages.

42. Having regard to the fact that one ton of uranium has nntpntiali't'es rif nrodncing as much electricity as 10.000 to 11,000 tons of coal, the impact of nuclear power on transport facilities is obvious. Although at present, the capital cost of nuclear stations is nearly H to 2 times that of thermal power stations, threshold conditions exist for setting up of nuclear power stations in relation to coal-based power stations in areas remote from coalfields and having no other altematwf economic sources of power generation ("'nnrtnir-tirin and operation of nuclear devices for production of electricity require a high degree of scientific and engineering skill. It is desirable that technical personnel in the country should obtain the necessary training and experience so as to undertake a large nuclear power programme at the appropriate time.

43. Tidal and gee-thermal power plants have been in use only to a very limited extent. Prospects of economic power generation from these sources in India are, for the present, negligible. Research on direct conversion of solar energy into electricity is being carried out in many parts of the world. Wind power plants have been in use in India for pumping water in isolated locations. Recently the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has set up a wind power division in the National Aeronautical Laboratory in Bangalore for the purpose of making wind surveys and conducting pilot studies on a few windmills and wind behaviour. The fluctuating wind power would necessitate installation of storage batteries for obtaining continuous power. The consequent high unit cost for building wind power stations is at present an obstacle to extensive introduction of such plants for power generation.


44. The total installed generating capacity in the country at the beginning of the First Plan stood at 2.30 million kW—fl.63 million kW in State-owned public utilities, 1.08 million kW in company-owned public utilities and 0.59 million kW in industrial establishments having their own power stations. During the First Plan, the aggregate installed generating capacity increased by about 49 per cent, the actual addition being 1.12 million kW, as against the target of 1.40 nrllion kW. During the Second Plan, generating capacity increased by about 67 per cent from 3.42 million kW to 5.70 million kW (Annexure VI). As against the initial target of 3.48 million kW, the actual addition was 2.28 million kW. The shortfall occurred mainly because of foreign exchange difficulties that arose during the early years of the Second Plan and also because of delays in the execution of some of the projects such as Bhakra-Nangal, Koyna, Rihand and Hirakud. To avoid conditions of severe power shortage in the early years of the Third Plan, steps were taken to provide foreign exchange for implementing the remaining power schemes of the Second Plan, which had earlier been classified as "non-core" proiects. Work was also taken up on a few additional power schemes which were not originally included in the Second Plan with a view to meeting increased demands that arose in certain regions during the Second Plan. Arrangements were also made to commence preliminary works on selected Third Plan schemes during the last year of the Second Plan. Important power stations commissioned in the First and Second Plans are listed in Annexure VII.

45. The total investment in electricity utilities at the beginning of the First Plan was about Rs. 150 crores, less than half of which was in the public sector. Investment in self-generating industrial establishments was estimated at Rs. 40 crores. During the First Plan, the total outlay on power development was Rs. 302 crores—Rs. 260 crores in State-owned utilities, Rs. 32 crores in company-owned utilities and Rs. 10 crores in self-generating industrial establishments. The corresponding figures for the Second Plan are Rs. 525 crores, 460 crores, 37 crores and 28 crores respectively. The figure of Rs. 460 crores includes investment by the Damodar Valley Corporation and some State Electricity Boards from their own resources. Thus the total investment on power upto the end of the Second Plan is reckoned at Rs. 1017 crores, of which State-owned public utilities would account for Rs. 790 crores.


46. The additional generating capacity installed during the Second Plan averaged about 0.45 million kW per annum. While it is proposed to step up this programme by commissioning 1.4 million kW per year on an average during the Third Plan, the pace of development in the Fourth and subsequent Plans would be higher. Thus, by 1975-76, the aggregate installed generating capacity in the country may be of the order of 35 million kW. According to present estimates, roughly fifty per cent of this capacity could be provided from hydro-electric projects and the balance mainly from thermal stations. In order to achieve these targets, new hydroelectric sites will need to be investigated speedily and works commenced in time to avail of the benefits in the subsequent Plans. Having regard to the available energy resources, nuclear power is expected to play progressively increasing part in meeting energy demands in future years.


47. Basic considerations and criteria.—In deciding particular methods of power generation suited to different areas, the key factors are, the capital cost per kilowatt of installed capacity, the foreign exchange component, the cost per kilowatt-hour generated, the period required for construction, impact on other allied development activities such as coat mining, washeries, irrigation, exploitation of natural gas, stimulus to the development of new technology etc. The average production costs of electricity for hydro, coal-fired and diesel power stations are in the neighbourhood of 1.2 nP. 3 nP and 25 nP per kilowatt-hour respectively. The cost of atomic generation, tentatively estimated at 3.5 to 4 nP. may be comparable to that of coal-fired power stations in areas remote from the coalfields. The foreign exchange component of coal-based power stations is two to three times that of hydro-stations, while nuclear stations require still more foreign exchange. Because of the different characteristics of the various types of power generation, optimum economy can be achieved by proper balance in the different modes of generation and by interconnecting them as far as possible to meet the varying conditions of power demand such as base, peak and seasonal loads in a grid.

48. The expected load demand in the next few years has been the main criterion in determining the size of the power programme in the States during the Third Plan. Detailed load surveys conducted by the Central Water and Power Commission towards the end of the Second Plan indicated much higher demands than were assessed at the time of the preliminary load surveys in 1958. The former alongwith the proposed industrial programme have formed the basis for inclusion of generation schemes in the Third Plan,. Considerable increase in irrigation pumping is envisaged in the States of Madras, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In some areas, as in West Bengal—Bihar region industrial demands are expected to rise steeply. The electrification of the railway track between Calcutta and Kan-pur and of certain other sections will increase traction demands considerably. In some States, where the additions to generating capacity during the Second Plan were not significant, the power programme would have to cater for a sizeable backlog of unsatisfied demands. Annexure VIII sets out the principal generation schemes included in the Third Plan. Annexure IX gives the State-wise abstract of costs of the power programme and the benefits envisaged in the Third Plan.


49. By the end of the Third Plan, the aggregate capacity of the plants in commission and under erection and testing will be of the order of 13.40 million kW of which 12.69 million kW are expected to be in commercial operation, representing an increase in installed generating capacity of 123 per cent over the Second Plan. With the completion of this programme, per capita generation of electricity would have risen from 18 kWh in 1951, 28 kWh in 1956, 45 kWh in 1961 to about 95 kWh in 1966.

50. A nuclear power station is planned for construction at Tarapur near Bombay. It will consist of two reactors, each producing 150 MW of power. One of these is expected to be in commission before the end of the Third Plan and the other in the first year of the Fourth Plan. Investigations regarding a suitable site for a nuclear power station in the Delhi—Punjab— Rajasthan—Uttar Pradesh region have recently been authorised.

51. The phasing of benefits from power schemes will depend largely on availability of foreign exchange and the capacity of State Electricity Boards who are generally in charge of the execution of power projects in the public sector to implement the programme approved for the Third Plan. It is essential that detailed programmes should be worked out for the preparation of project reports, preparation of specifications and tender documents, analysis of tenders when received and placing of orders, deliveries of equipment, erection, testing and commissioning of plants, and obstacles likely to upset the scheduled programme should be anticipated and dealt with in advance. Power shortage in different regions cannot be mitigated unless a strict watch is kept on the progress of the schemes and every effort made to shorten the period of construction.

52. Although there are a number of uncertain elements at the present stage the following Table suggests the likely phasing of benefits during the Third Plan :

Table 7 Phasing of benefits

year additions during the Year (million kW) aggregate installed generating capacity by the end of the year (million kW)
1961-62 0-60 6-30
1962-63 0-73 7-03
1963-64 1 -05 8-08
1964-65 2-07 10-15
1965-66 2-54 12-69

It may be pointed out that despite the large programme of development envisaged above, owing to the rapid growth in demand, power shortages are likely to continue to exist in some regions, particularly in the early years of the Third Plan. Power development has to be a continuous process, and work has to be commenced on a series of projects which will yield benefits in subsequent Plan periods. With this in view projects such as, Beas, Punasa, Wikki and others, have been included in the Third Plan.

53. The transmission network will be further strengthened and extended during the Third Plan as shown in the Table below :

Table 8 Transmission lines

at the end of transmission lines 11 kV and above
circuit miles circuit kilometers
1955 36500 58400
1960-61 84000 134400
1965-66 150000 240000


54. The estimated cost of the power programme in the public sector in the Third Plan is Rs. 1039* crores. Investment in the private sector is expected to be of the order of Rs. 50 crores. The approximate break-up of the programme in the public sector is Rs. 661 crores for hydro and thermal generating schemes. Rs. 51 crores for atomic power and about Rs^ 327 crores for transmission and distribution schemes including Rs. 105 crores for rural electrification. This programme provides for power supply to the Bokaro steel plant and includes the outlay required for the 150 MW extension in the Neiveli power station. The provision of Rs. 24 crores for uranium mining, fabrication and plutonium extraction plant shown originally under "Power" in the Draft Outline, is now shown in the "Industry and Minerals" sector.

55. The total foreign exchange required for the power programme in the Third Plan is estimated at Rs. 320 crores. Experience in the Second Plan has underlined the fact that our dependence for electrical equipment on imports is a serious obstacle to rapid development of power. Even during the Third R!

56. The growth of installed capacity and energy generated is set out in the Tables below :

Table 9 Growth of installed capacity in million kW

1950 1955 1960-61 (estimate) 1965-66 (estimate)
state-owned public utilities 0-63 1-52 3-32 9'82
company-owned public utilities 1 -08 1 -18 1-36 1-45
self-generating industrial establishments 0-59 0-72 1-02 1-42
total 2-30 342 5-70 12-69

Table 10 Installed capacity by type of plant in million kW

1950 1955 1960-61(estimate) 1965-66 (estimate)
hydro plant 0-56 0-94 1-93 5-10
steam plant 1-59 2-27 3-46 7-08
oil plant 0-15 0-21 0-31 0-36
nuclear plant 0-15
total 2-30 3-42 5-70 12-69

Table 11 Growth of energy generated m million kWh

1950 1955 1960-61(estimate) 1965-66 (estimate)
state-owned public utiliities 2104 4573 11250 34500
company-owned public utilities 3003 4079 5750 6503
self-generating industrial establishments 1468 2185 2850 4030
total 6575 10777 19850 45003


57. Annexure X gives the pattern of consumption by different classes of consumers during the period 1951-61. The range of variation in this period as also the anticipated consumption in 1965-66 is given in the Table below :

Table 12 Pattern of utilisation


anticipated consumption
in 1965-66 (million kWh)
percent of total generation 1965-66
range of variation during 1951-1961
omestic or residentia. 1
light and small powei 3400 7-6 7 -5 to 8.0
commercial light and small power 1900 4-2 4-2 to 4-8
industrial power 28400 63-1 61 -3 to 62-9
traction 1800 4-0 2 -3 to 4 -4
public lighting 400 0-9 0 -9 to 1 -0
irrigation 1900 4-2 2 -4 to 4 -2
public water works and 900 2.0 2.3 to 2.8
sewage pumping transmission losses, consumption in auxiliaries etc. 6300 14-0 1 14-4 to 16-3
total 45000 100-0

During the ten years 1951-61y except for traction and irrigation pumping, the other types of consumption do not show significant variations. As the growth of electric traction has not kept pace with the growth of power generation, consumption in this sector has shown a downward trend from 4.4 percent of generation in 1951 to 2.3 percent in 1960-51. The consumption in irrigation pumping has registered an increase from 2.7 to 4.2 percent. It is noteworthy that whereas the overall consumption has increased by about two and a half times, the use of electricity for irrigation pumping has increased more than four-fold since 1951, and progress is expected to continue to be rapid. Growth in electricity consumption in different sectors during the First and Second Plans is given in detail in Annexure XI. Industries consume about 61—63 percent of the total amount of electricity generated or, to put it differently about 72 percent of power sold to consumers. This underlines the importance of coordinating power programmes with industrial programmes. With continued emphasis on heavy and basic industries in the Third Plan corresponding increase in power generation has been provided for.


58. An important objective of the Third Plan is to develop efficient small-scale industries in small towns and in rural areas so as to increase employment opportunities, raise incomes and living standards and bring about a more balanced and diversified rural economy. In achieving these aims a major limiting factor is the lack of power. Where electricity is available, it becomes possible to reorganise the traditional industries and to introduce small industries based on steadily improving techniques, which are capable of meeting the new needs of the expanding rural economy. In several States, electricity is being increasingly used for irrigation pumping, and the scope for this is likely to increase rapidly. Thus, in relation to the development of the rural economy, rural electrification has a growing importance, and indeed, its value cannot be assessed only in terms of the immediate economic benefits.

59. By the end of the Second Plan, the total number of towns and villages electrified in the country is reckoned at 23<000, as against 7,400 at the end of the First Plan. The Third Plan provides for an outlay of Rs. 105 crores for rural electrification. This does not include the outlay required for providing the necessary generating capacity for meeting rural loads which is included in the provision for generation. By the end of the Third Plan the number of towns and villages electrified is likely to increase by about 20,000 to about 43,000. In determining the scope of the rural electrification programme in each State, the need for balance between increase in generating capacity and extensions in transmission, distribution and rural electrification has been kept in view. Much larger outllays and more rapid development in rural electrification are envisaged for the Fourth and Fifth Plans.

60. The following Table gives the distribution of towns and villages in terms of population range, numbers electrified during different Plan periods, and those expected to be electrified by the end of the Third Plan.

Table 13 Towns and Villages electrified

Population range total number according to 1951 census number electrified by March, 1951 number electrified by March, 1956 number electrified by March, 1961 (estimate) nu-nbsr electrified by March, 1966 (estimate)
over 100000 73 49 73 73 73
50000 to 100000 111 88 111 111 111
20000 to 50000 401 240 366 399 401
10000 to 20000 856 260 350 756 856
5000 to 10000 3101 258 1200 1800 3101
less than 5000 556565 2792 5300 19861 38458
total 561107 3687 7400 23030 43030

It will be seen that by the end of the Third Plan all towns and villages with population exceeding 5,000 may be expected to be electrified. As regards villages with a population range of 2,000 to 5,000, it is envisaged that nearly 50 percent that is 10,000 villages will receive the benefits of electricity,

61. There are a number of isolated areas where small hydro plants of 10 to 100 kW each can be set up at modest cost. Small hydro units upto 100 kW capacity are now being manufactured in the country. In the '"ng run, they will be more economical than diesel-alternator sets and relatively easy to maintain, and will not involve foreign exchange for their procurement or operation. A cell has been set up in the Central Water and Power Commission for initiating and assisting in field surveys and in the installation of such plants. This aspect of power development is of special importance in hill areas and suitable programmes should be formulated.

62. Rural extensions of electricity become relatively uneconomic mainljy because of distances separating individual villages, the low level of power consumption and the seasonal character of the requirements of power specially in agriculture. Consequently the load factor is How and the available generating capacity is not fully utilised. With a view to improving the load factor it is essential that different types of economic activities in each district requiring the use of power should be developed in a coordinated manner. This object can be secured through a carefully formulated development programme for each area covering activities in different fields of development such as minor irrigation, credit and service facilities for equipment, improved seeds and village and small industries, so that rural electrification makes the maximum contribution possible to the increase of agricultural and industrial' production. There should be forward planning for rural electrification over a period of two or more years ahead of taking up the work so that simulataneous action is initiated in other sectors also.

63. To facilitate the drawing up of definite schemes for the utilisation of power as part of the district development plan. State Electricity Boards should indicate in advance to the district agencies concerned, their estimates of the amount of power likely to be available for rural areas and small towns during the Third Plan, year by year. it has been recommended to States that, in every district where eiJectric facilities exist or are likely to be availabib small committees should be set up to plan and advise on rural development programmes. These programmes should be worked out in sufficient detail and with the necessary phasing in terms of limited areas, such as a small town and its neighbourhood or a group of villages which have a common source of power and can, therefore, develop on the basis of a welt-conceived economic programme. These district plans should be implemented as part of the State plan so that the development of rural electrification keeps in step with the programme for additional generating capacity.

64. Dispersal of industries in rural areas, which is discussed elsewhere in this Report, presupposes availability of power. There should be a close link between schemes for the development of village and small industries and the programme for generation and distribution of power. Similar coordination is called for in respect of minor irrigation schemes which require electricity for pumping.

65. Several aspects of rural electrification, such as those relating to the adequacy of power supply for rural Ipads, rates for supply and the role of Panchayat Samitis and village panchayats in distribution of electricity are being studied further.


66. The Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, laid down that a sound, adequate and uniform national power policy should be developed. coordinating the activities of planning agencies in relation to the control and utilisation of national power resources. This calls for exploitation of the natural resources in the most economical manner for the benefit of the entire region regardless of State boundaries. Thus, steam power stations should be sited near collieries, washeries and oil refineries. The cheapest hydro sites in any river basin should be harnessed in an appropriate order of priority. Nuclear power stations should .be located in regions where other resources of energy are inadequate or expensive. All power stations should be inter-connected to form State, zonal or super-grids, so that the energy is pooled and used to the best advantage of the region. Interconnected operation of power stations and power systems will improve the performance of electricity supply undertakings by raising the load factor; reducing the requirements of stand-by machinery and enabling the efficient operation of the available plant.

67. There has been inter-State collaboration in the past in the execution of projects such as Bhakra-Nangal, Machkund, Tuhgabhadra, Cham-bal and others. Such co-operation needs to be further extended so that power generation may be undertaken on a regional or a zonal basis and not merely to meet demands within one State. This will also pave the way for eliminating the disparities in electricity tariffs in neighbouring States. Also, in the absence of the zonal approach there is a danger of large energy resources concentrated in some States remaining unutilised, either because of the inability of the State Governments to finance the project from their own resources or because of the power demand in the State not being sufficient to call for this development immediately. Problems relating to planning and construction of generating stations, which serve more than one State, are being examined.

68. Studies are being undertaken by the Central Water and Power Commission for the establishment of super-grid in the Southern region, linking up Andhra Pradesh, Mysore, Madras and Kerala power systems. Meanwhilb, the construction of 220 kV inter-State link lines designed to provide immediate facilities for interchange of power to a limited extent between the States is being taken up. During the Third Plan, power systems in Maharashtra and Gujarat will get inter-connected as also the Chambal grid of Rajasthan with the Satpura power system of Madhya Pradesh. Other inter-State links which should be considered are : the Riband system in Uttar Pradesh with the Amarkantak—Korba system in Madhya Pradesh and the latter with the Hirakud system in Orissa, Ganga grid of Uttar Pradesh with the Delhi-Punjab system, and the Sharavathy system in Mysore with the Koyna system in Maharashtra. A special unit in the Central Water and Power Commission is being set up for undertaking studies and planning of regional super-grids in association with State Electricity Boards and other electricity supply undertakings.


69. In accordance with the requirements of the Electricity (Supply) Act. 1948, autonomous Electricity Boards have been set up in all the Statesi These Boards are charged with the general duty of promoting the coordinated develepment of the generation, supply and distribution of electricity within the State in the most efficient and economical manner, with particular reference to such development in areas not for the time being served by any licensee.

70. It is essential that electricity undertakings in the public sector should earn reasonable surpluses and provide resources for financing future development. On account of the capital intensive nature of power development and the rapid growth in demand, large investments will be required in the public sector.

71. The Second Finance Commission referred to the unsatisfactory financial results in the working of electricity undertakings and emphasised that the State Governments should take adequate steps to ensure that Electricity Boards were able to meet the interest charges on the outstanding loans due to the States. A recent review of the finances of the various Electricity Boards shows that there has been no improvement in the position. The following are the principal steps to be undertaken for bringing about substantial improvement in the financial position of the State Electricity Boards :

  1. selection of the most economical projects for power generation;
  2. achieving the utmost economy in construction costs;
  3. phasing of projects in such a way as to reduce the lag between availability of benefits and their utilisation;
  4. maximum utilisation of the existing generating capacity by building up iloads so as to improve the plant and load factors;
  5. operation of power stations at the highest efficiency by measures such as effecting fuel economies, reduction of losses etc.;
  6. inter-connected operation with grids in the adjoining States, and
  7. readjustments in tariffs and electricity duties.

It has already been suggested to the States that these aspects should receive special consideration and steps should be taken to augment the revenues.

72. Investigations of hydro-electric projects.— Hydro-electric projects require extensive investigations. There has been a paucity of fully investigated projects which has hampered the more rapid development of this source of cheap power. In several States separate investigating units have already been set up. But the volume of work remaining to be done is large. These units should be strengthened so that greater attention can be given to this aspect in the Third Plan. A programme for investigating 64 specific hydro sites, with a potential of 12 million kW, has been drawn up and it is necessary to devote special attention to it. The total cost of investigating these schemes is estimated at Rs. 13 crores with a foreign exchange component of Rs. 1.13 crores. Assistance has already been secured to cover the foreign exchange requirements of this programme.

73. Load surveys.—A systematic survey of prospective loads in the various regions and their periodic review should be conducted by State Electricity Boards and the Central Water and Power Commission. This is important for advance planning of generating capacity during successive Plan periods. Provision has been made in the plan for the continuance of the load survey directorate in the Central Water and Power Commission.

74. Research.—Research on problems of generation, transmission and distribution will be carried out in the Power Research Institute established at Bangalore. The problems to be investigated include lightning studies on transmission lines, development of indigenous insulating materials, development and manufacture of simple machines, appliances and certain instru-mentSi cable characteristics, power system studies on the network analyser etc. A switchgear testing station is being set up at Bhopal for testing and developing designs of switchgear. This station will undertake testing of switchgear manufactured by the public as also the private sector.

75. Design and construction.—The need has been felt for setting up a specialist organisation to plan, design and construct large hydro and thermal stations which are at present being done through foreign consultants. This will not only train personnel for detailed technical work but will also save foreign exchange. A unit for this purpose is being set up within the Central Water and Power Commission.

76. Other aspects.—There are also a few other aspects of power programme which require continued attention in the Third Plan. Centres for hot line crew training, that is training of electrical technicians in the maintenance of live extra high tension transmission lines were set up at Bangalore and Ganguwal during the Second Plan. Insulators can be cleaned, damaged insulators replaced, conductors jointed and supports transplanted without shutting down the line and continuous supply to consumers ensured. As a result of the training and with the help of hot line tools and equipment, hot line maintenance techniques have now been introduced in most of the power systems in the country.

77. Standardisation of equipment is another aspect which deserves further study in the Third Plan. Standardisation will result in quicker execution of projects, economy in construction costs and lowering of maintenance expenditure. The Central Water and Power Commission have already worked out a manual of construction of rural extensions. A similar approach is proposed to be adopted for thermal power stations.

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