The Punjab-Haryana Plain of Northern India – Essay

Surface Features:

The general slope is towards south-west. Its elevation varies from 275 metres in the north to 213 metres in the south-east and 176 metres near Fazilka in the south-west. The Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej drain only one-fourth of the area of this region, in the north.

The Yamuna drains only a narrow strip of land lying on its right bank. The Ghaggar which flows past Jakhal and Sirsa is rainy season stream. Apart from the Ghaggar no other river perennial or non-perennial crosses the 362 km long strip of land stretching between Delhi and Fazilka.

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The Sarasvati (now dried up) too poured its water into Ghaggar. The Ghaggar later dwindled to insignificance because (i) the Sutlej changed its course and began to flow westwards from Ropar to merge into the Beas, and (ii) the headwaters of the Sarasvati were captured in stages by the westward shift of the course of the Yamuna. In south Aravalli range breaks the monotony of the plain.

Climate:

There are two climate types, humid sub-tropical with dry winters and sub-tropical steppe prevail in this region. The rest of the area which forms the major part of this plain, has sub-tropical steppe (BSh) climate.

A major part of the annual rainfall is received in the months of July, August and September. Western depressions bring a few centimetres of rainfall during the months from December to April.

Irrigation:

The well and canal irrigation have favoured agriculture. The Sutlej, the Ravi and Yamuna are life giving river of this region. Areas near the rivers are served better with irrigation provided both by wells and canals.

There is eighty-one per cent of the net area sown irrigated in this region. Area under irrigation, however, varies from district to district. Two tracts are poorly served with irrigation-one runs as a narrow belt adjacent to the Siwalik Range and is comprised by Hoshiarpur, Ropar and Ambala districts; the other sprawls south of a line passing through Gurgaon and Hissar towns.

There is hundred per cent electrification of villages and towns of this region.

There are good networks of canal in this region which are as follows.

(1) The Upper Bari Daob Canal was completed during 1878-79. This canal takes off from the Ravi. The weir is built at Madhopur (near Pathankot). It irrigates about 335,710 hectares of land in Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts.

(2) The Sirhind Canal was completed in 1886. It takes off from the left bank of the Sutlej. The weir which diverts the water of the Sutlej into this canal is constructed near Ropar. The canal irrigates about 600,170 hectares in Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangrur, Bhatinda and Ferozepore districts.

(3) The Western Yamuna Canal was completed in 1886. This canal provides irrigation to Karnal, Rohtak, Jind and Hissar districts and Delhi State. The canal takes off from the right bank of the Yamuna. The weir which diverts the water of the river into this canal is constructed at Tajewala (Ambala district).

(4) The Bhakra Nangat Canal System is the largest canal system and it irrigates about 1,230,000 hectares of land lying in the northern districts of Haryana and southern districts of the Punjab.

(5) The Eastern Grey Canal was completed in 1933. It irrigates mainly the northern part of Ferozepore district. The weir which diverts the water of the Sutlej into this canal is built across the river near Ferozepore town.