India is quite rich in her hydroelectric resources but little of it was exploited till 1950. There is an urgent need of power for rapid industrialization and economic development. The Ministry of Irrigation and Power was created in 1952 to formulate a national policy on river valley development schemes. The total hydro-power potential of the country has been evaluated to be in the region of 41,000,000 kw. The growth of hydroelectric power from a mere 74,441 kw in 1920 to an estimated 5,100,000 kw in 1965-1966 is outlined. The interesting aspects of four major river valley development projects–Bhakra Nangal, Damodar Valley, Hirakud and Rihand–are described. The plans for present and future hydro power developments are examined.
By Asit K. Biswas, 1966. Article published in Journal of the Power Division, Volume 92, Number 2, pages 31-48. DOI: 10.1061/JPWEAM.0000511