Ruhr of India - The Hidden Minerals of Damodar Valley

India is known for its abundant collection of natural resources scattered across different parts of the country. The Damodar Valley which stretches from Jharkhand to West Bengal is one such area and is known as the Ruhr of India. Other than natural resources, the valley is also known for producing hydroelectric power and thermal power.

What is Ruhr?

Ruhr Area in Germany
The Ruhr area of Germany
The term “Ruhr” denotes the Ruhr Valley in North Rhine Westphalia situated in West Germany. It is a polycentric urban area with a population of about 5 million. It is the largest urban area in Germany and the second largest in the European Union. It is named after the Ruhr River which flows in the valley. This valley is rich in minerals such as iron, coal and mica. A vast industrial belt is located here with many small and big industries.

The Indian Ruhr

Dam in Damodar Valley
The Damodar valley is modelled on similar lines as the Ruhr Valley and hence takes this name. The valley is home to large scale mining and industrial activity. The Damodar Valley is spread across Hazaribagh, Ramgarh, Koderma, Giridih, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Chatra districts in Jharkhand and Bardhaman and Hooghly districts in West Bengal and partially covers Palamu, Ranchi, Lohardaga and Dumka districts in Jharkhand and Howrah, Bankura and Purulia districts in West Bengal with a command area of 24,235 square kilometres.

The valley also houses the three biggest steel factories – (Bokaro, Burnpur and Durgapur) in India and numerous micro and macro industries dealing with the extraction and utilization of natural resources. It is a major industrial belt of India with high capacity thermal and hydroelectric power plants.

The Minerals of Damodar

The mineral-rich valley is abundant in coal, iron and steel. Damodar Valley is a highly productive region of India as 90% of India’s coal raising areas are from the basins. 75% of the country’s coal deposits are within the Damodar valley. It is considered the prime centre of coking coal in the country. It also contains a group of hills that houses the world’s richest iron deposits and many rare and strategic minerals. The respective state government with the aid of the Central government are planning projects in the area and investing to build and enlarge this industrial nerve centre.

Damodar River and the Dams

Damodar River
The Damodar River
The valley is also home to The Damodar River which is a tributary of the Hugli River and flows west to the east direction through Jharkhand and West Bengal. The river is the pride of the valley, and sometimes also the woe. In the past, the river used to wreak havoc on the valley due to constant flooding and is hence known as “Sorrow of Bengal”. The flooding has been taken under control through the construction of dams. The river has many tributaries namely Barakar, Konar, Bokaro, Haharo, Jamunia, Ghari, Guaia, Khadia and Bhera. Several dams have been constructed in the valley for the generation of hydroelectric power.

Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC)

It is inevitable that one talk about the Damodar Valley Corporation while talking about the valley. The DVC is the first multipurpose river valley project of Independent India and came into action on July 7, 1948. Built on the model of the Tennessee Valley Authority of The United States, its primary concerns were flood control, irrigation, generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, eco-conservation and afforestation, as well as job creation for the socio-economic well-being of the people residing in and around areas affected by DVC projects. Later, the Corporation started focusing on the construction of dams and the possibility of producing energy through these. Now, it actively works so as to rightfully utilize abundant resources of the valley.

The Damodar valley rightly named the Ruhr of India is the solution to many economic and industrial problems. The valley’s rich plethora and variant natural resources make it one of the richest hubs of minerals in India as well as the world. The constant toiling of the DVC coupled with efforts from the State and Central governments will make the valley grow into one of the most productive and lucrative industrial hubs in the world.

This post was published by Karthika Sindhu

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