MAHANADI RIVER BASIN (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     16th January 2024        
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Context: The state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) recently discovered two significant natural gas reserves in the Mahanadi basin block in the Bay of Bengal.

Mahanadi River Basin

  • About: The Mahanadi basin spans across Chhattisgarh and Odisha, with smaller portions in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, covering an area of 1.4 lakh Sq.km.
  • Bounded by: Central India hills to the north, the Eastern Ghats to the south and east, and the Maikala range to the west, the Mahanadi basin is strategically situated.
  • River Course: The Mahanadi, known as the "Great River," stretches over 560 miles (900 km) and originates in the northern foothills of Dandakaranya in Raipur District, Chhattisgarh, at an elevation of 442 m.
  • Importance: Ranked second to the Godavari in water potential and flood-producing capacity, the Mahanadi is a significant river in the peninsular rivers system.
  • Dams: At Sambalpur, the Hirakud Dam, one of India's largest dams, has formed a 35-mile (55 km) long man-made lake, showcasing human intervention in the river system.
  • Tributaries: Left bank tributaries include the Seonath, Hasdeo, Mand, and Ib, while right bank tributaries consist of the Ong, Tel, and Jonk.
  • Chhattisgarh Plain: The upper course of the Mahanadi lies in the saucer-shaped basin known as the 'Chhattisgarh Plain,' surrounded by hills on the north, west, and south. Tributaries join from these sides, shaping the river's upper course geography.
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