The Sutlej (often written Satluj) is the longest of five rivers that flow through the pivot Punjab region of northern India and Pakistan. The Sutlej is also known by the name “Satadru.” It feeds into the Indus River much to the east. The Bhakra Dam on the Sutlej River has enabled irrigation and other services to be provided to the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana.

Because of the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, most of Sutlej’s water is supplied to Indian irrigation canals such as the Sirhind Canal, Bhakra Main Line, and Rajasthan Canal. The average annual flow is 14 MAF upstream of the Ropar barrage and downstream of the Bhakra dam.

The Sutlej River Valley Development Project

The Sutlej River Valley Project is one of Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbassi’s main contributions to the State of Bahawalpur. The Secretary of State first proposed the Sutlej valley project in 1921. This project proposes establishing new canals that will carry water to a large swath of the state by building dams on three rivers.

The dams are Head Sulemanki, Head Islam, and Head Panjnad. The project lasted from 1922 to 1933 and was divided into four phases, with water flowing continuously or intermittently through Feroz Pur Sulemanki, Islam, and Panjnad.

The project’s overall anticipated cost was $33.3 Crores and 31 lacs, with the state of Bahawalpur providing 14.2 Crores. Two crores came directly from treasure of the state, and the rest came from a federal government loan. This initiative resulted in the permanent irrigation of 20,75,000 out of 51,080 acres.

There were seasonal dwellers on the remaining 30 lacs and 33 thousand acres of land. The canals from Head Punjnad contain more water than those from Head Islam or Head Sulemanki.

According to the figures, the state of Bahawalpur profited from this enterprise.

Total Income Revenue:

From 1924 to 1925: 26 lacs 97 thousands

From 1944 to 1945: 55 lacs 62 thousands

Total Irrigation Income:

From 1924 to 1925: 11 lacs 44 thousands

From 1944 to 1945: 74 lacs 18 thousands

In this way, the State of Bahawalpur’s total income climbed by 91 lac rupees, roughly 238 per cent, in just 21 years. The higher productivity of a few specialized crops was the greatest advantage of the 51 million more people. With this increase, the state’s population doubled, and around 25 lacs of land were converted to agricultural use. Increased international trade resulted in the effective creation of new metropolitan centres, marketplaces, and transportation corridors.

Cholistan’s water supply made a vast desert area habitable, and many Punjab farmers relocated there. New marketplaces have opened at Sadiq Ganj, Rahim Yar Khan, Liaqatpur, Hasilpur, Chistian, Bahawalnagar, Haroonabad, Fortabbass, Yazman, Sadiqabad, and Bahawalpur. Most of the shops and stores were opened by His Majesty himself. As a result, the government was able to stockpile food.