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an imposing work when viewed from below, in consequence of this deficiency of elevation ; but, when viewed from above, and when its immense breadth is observed, with its line of masonry channel, which, when completed, both north and south of the river, will be nearly three miles in length, the effect must be most striking.
“ The waterway of the canal is formed in two separate channels, each 85 feet in width. The side walls are 8 feet thick and 12 deep, the expected depth of water being 10 feet.” “A continuation of the earthen aqueduct, about 3-4 of a mile in length, connects the masonry work with the high bank at Roorkhi, and brings the canal to the termination of the difficult portion of its course.” *
The details, which are here given, serve to show the thoroughness and security with which the work has been constructed. The waters will not be more safely confined within the natural walls of the cut through which they enter the valley, than within the revetments of the embankments and the sides of the aqueduct by which they cross it. During the dry season the Solani flows a scanty dribbling stream through a wide bed of sand; but when the rainy months set in, and the snows melt on the inaccessible summits of the mountains, it pours a swollen flood, which might well test the strength of any inferior work, but will, we may well believe, beat in vain against the solid, unshaken piers which support the more constant stream.
The town of Roorkhi, the head-quarters of the canal, was, a few years ago, but a small native village. It is now a flourishing, and rapidly increasing English station. It is a pleasant place, with its look of busy industry and fresh western activity.f A broad, uneven plain stretches off from the river to the
* It gives some further idea of the extent of these works to learn, from a report of Major Baker, that the construction of the aqueduct will require 84,000,000 of bricks, and 1,000,000 cubic feet of lime. The total cost of the canal from Hurdwar to Roorkhi will be about 3,000,000 rupees, of which, more than half is spent upon the aqueduct.
† We quote, from a manuscript journal, an account of a part of the scene at Roorkhi, in 1849. “Standing on the bridge that crosses the canal, one sees an unexampled sight for India. In order to transport materials and earth along the line of works, a railway, two or three miles in length, has been laid down, — the only railroad in Asia. The cars, drawn by horses, (engines have been sent for from England) are passing and repassing upon it. The natives understand such a laborsaving machine as this, -every other contrivance, however novel, they have seemed to regard with little admiration or surprise. Thousands of them are busy at bricklaying or excavating, or engaged in other sorts of labor required on the works. They
foot of the mountains that rise, range upon range, in the early morning light, but whose more distant peaks are hidden in the glare of the full day. There was a propriety in choosing this place as the head-quarters of the canal, not less from its natural situation, than from the character of the neighboring works. The work-shops, model-room, and offices needed for the canal, are well established, and it is now some years since à College was opened, which, “ under its excellent Principal, Lieut. Maclagan, of the Engineers, promises to become an institution of the highest utility to the canal and other departments of public works,” as well as to the country generally, by raising up a class of native and European Civil Engineers, who may assist in the maintenance of the existing, and the creation of new, works for the public good.*
But we are lingering too long at Roorkhi, and must proceed to the further description of the canal. From this point it continues, with an easy and unimpeded course, for about fifty miles, when it throws off its first branch, which stretches away for 160 miles, and will have a discharge of 1240 cubic feet per second. Three other branches follow, at distant intervals, the longest of which runs for 172 miles.
“ As each of the branches, as well as the main line, will be adapted for internal navigation, the commerce of the Doab will participate with its agriculture in the benefit to be derived from the canal. For purposes of cross communication, bridges will be provided at every two all labor under the immediate direction of native superintendents. It is a striking thing to see them thus employed in accomplishing a work that is to be of infinite advantage to themselves, and learning, at the same time, by the practical teaching of experience, the lessons most important to be learned by Hindus - the power of combination, the benefits of association and mutual dependence, and the superiority of other science and arts to their own. At a little distance lies an immense field covered with brick kilns, some in process of building, some with the smoke issuing from their tops, some already burnt and ready for use. 100,000 bricks are turned out daily for the construction of the aqueduct. Altogether, viewing the canal itself, the little new town, and all this activity there is no place in India where the contrasts between the past and the present are more impressive or more satisfactory.” Lieutenant Goodwyn, of the Engineers, was at this time at the head of this division of the canal. His great merits as an officer were not more than his kind. ness as a friend.
* Lieutenant Maclagan has been during the present year on a visit to this country, engaged in the examination of our various educational institutions. The interests of the College at Roorkhi could not be in more faithful hands.
or three miles. All the various works required for the regulation of the supply, for the convenience of the establishment, for mills, &c., will be constructed wherever required. Plantations will be formed within the canal limits, on each bank. Orchards of grafted mango trees, similar to those so successfully established on the Eastern Jumna Canal, are estimated for. The transverse section of the canal is gradually diminished, as each branch draws off its proportion of the supply from the main line.”
The cost of the whole canal is estimated at one and a half millions sterling, and “there is no probability that this estimate will be exceeded." To authorize so large an expense, the government must have been well satisfied that the returns would be proportioned to the outlay. And such, indeed, they promise to be. The enormous extent of territory that will come within the influence of the canal, and the consequent increase of revenue from the land, appears from the following extract:
“Supposing,” (we quote again from our authority,) “ that the full supply of the canal, being 6,750 cubic feet per second, is rendered available for irrigation, as ultimately we have no doubt it will be, we know from experience on the canals of the Jumna, that each cubic foot of this discharge is sufficient for the irrigation, during the year, of 218 acres. The total area, which would be actually watered during the year, would, consequently, amount to 6,750 X 218 = 1,471,500 acres, or, for facility of calculation, say 1,500,000.
“ Assuming as astandard of comparison for the whole of the Doab, the best irrigated district on the Eastern Jumna Canal, ... we find ... that irrigating villages actually water one third of their total areas. Consequently, the supply of the Ganges Canal would furnish abundant irrigation for an area of 1,500,000 X 3 = 4,500,000 acres.
“ In districts benefiting by canal irrigation, it is found that for such localities as, from position, difficulties of level, or other causes, cannot be provided with water, irrigation from wells is extensively employed. From data given in the Special Committee's report, it would appear that, in the best irrigated district on the Western Jumna Canal, the proportion of canal to well irrigation is as five to one; assuming this for the Doab, we should have an area, irrigated from wells, amounting to 900,000 acres.
“The total area, for which irrigation would be provided, would, accordingly, amount to 5,400,000 acres. But the whole irrigable area VOL. LXXVII. NO. 161.
of the Doab is, as formerly shown, 11,102,048 acres. This tract of country would therefore be irrigated to the extent of very nearly one half its surface, - a proportion equal to that of the best district west, and nearly double that of the best district east, of the Jumna. In making this comparison, it should not be overlooked that the best districts on existing canals have been selected as standards for the whole Doab, a measure which tends to give a more limited range to the influence of the Ganges Canal than would have been the case had inferior tracts been selected. But we are anxious to avoid all appearance of exaggeration in estimating the benefits to be anticipated from this great work.”
Over this wide extent of country, — down this new valley of the Ganges, — the steady flow of irrigation will be like a fertil. izing inundation, lasting the whole year round. We cannot go through, in detail, with the facts upon which the estimates of the annual returns from the canal, and the probable cost of its maintenance, are based, nor with those relating to the pecuniary value of the crops improved and secured by it.* We must be content to take Captain Smith's summary of them; but in reading his statement it is to be observed that, on every point, he has rather understated than exaggerated the prospective results. There is no need, indeed, of exaggeration in describing such a work and such results. The simple facts, most moderately stated, are sufficiently surprising and eloquent.
“ We have shown,” he says, “ that the canal will add to the revenue of the government the sum of £350,000 per annum; that it will protect from the risk of famine a tract of country, containing upwards of 11,000,000 acres, inhabited by nearly six and a half millions of souls, and paying to the state an annual land revenue of nearly £1,800,000. It has farther been shown that, in the event of a failure of the ordinary rains, agricultural property to the value of seven and a half millions sterling would be secured to the community; that an increase in the produce of the land, valued at £1,200,000 per annum, would be obtained; and that, as compared with the only other available method
* These facts are, in many cases, derived from statistics prepared by order of the government of the North-Western Provinces. This government deserves the highest credit for directing the collection and publication of these and other valuable statistics upon different branches of administration. It is as far in advance of the Bengal, Madras, and Bombay governments in this as in most other respects.
of irrigation, a saving of expense to the amount of two and a half millions annually would be effected.”
Two objections have been raised to this great work, which, if well founded, would have diminished, in a considerable degree, the completeness of the satisfaction with which we believe it is to be regarded. The first of these was that the “ abstraction at Hurdwar of so large a portion of the stream as 6750 out of 8000 cubic feet per second,” would be of very serious injury to the navigation on the river. It has, however, been shown in the original reports on the works, and in the article which has been our chief authority throughout this account of the canals, that there is a great percolation of water through the porous stratum of shingle composing the bed of the upper part of the river, and that this water again “ makes its appearance when, at the lower levels of the river's course, the substratum of clay outcrops and the porous shingle bed terminates." In addition to this supply, the volume of the stream is increased below Hurdwar by various tributaries, — so that, notwithstanding so large a portion is originally taken off by the canal, enough will still remain for all the usual needs of navigation. Nor is it to be forgotten that the canal itself will afford many facilities for navigation, and that the revenue from it will supply the government with ample means to improve the channel of the river, if it should be found that the capacities of the stream have been injured, or the interests of the towns upon its banks have suffered by the construction of the works for irrigation.
Another objection has been “ based on the supposed insalubrity of irrigation, as exemplified in parts of the existing canals of the Jumna.” This objection early excited the attention of the government, and a special committee was appointed for the purpose of examining the existence and character of the danger from this source. Their report was prepared with great care, and is one of much general interest. It conclusively proved that unhealthiness was not a necessary consequence of irrigation by canals, but that it was an acci. dental consequence, developed in almost exact proportion to the degree in which the canals interfered with the free drainage of the country. In view of these conclusions, the