Agra Canal

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This article has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

Agra Canal

An important irrigation work in Northern India. which receives its supply from the right bank of the Jumna at Okhla, about 11 miles below Delhi. It protects a tract of country which suffered considerably in the past from famine.

The weir across the Jumna was the first attempted in Northern India on a river having a bed of the finest sand; it is about 800 yards wide, and rises 7 feet above the summer level of the river. In 1877 a cut was made from the Hindan river to the left bank of the Jumna close to the weir; and water from the Ganges Canal can thus be used, when available, to supplement the supply in the Jumna, which sometimes falls short. The total length of the main canal in 1904 was 100 miles ; of branches, 9 miles; of distributaries, 633 miles; of drainage cuts, 191 miles; and of other channels, 57 miles. The main channel was completed in 1874, and irrigation commenced for the spring harvest of 1875. The total capital outlay to 1904 was 102 lakhs.

The canal commands an area of 597,000 acres, of which about 8,000 acres are situated in the Delhi and 210,000 in the Gurgaon District of the Punjab, and 228,000 acres in the Muttra and 151,000 in the Agra District of the United Provinces. The total area actually irrigated in 1903-4 was 260,000 acres; the gross and net revenues were 8.4 and 5.6 lakhs, and the net revenue represented 5.5 per cent, on the capital outlay. The gross revenue has exceeded the working expenses in every year since 1876-7, and the net revenue has been larger than the interest charges on capital since 1896-7 ; but taking the whole period of existence of the canal, the interest charges have exceeded the net revenue by nearly 14 lakhs.

The total length open for navigation was 125 miles, including two branches to the Jumna at Muttra and Agra, 9 and 16 miles in length, which cost 1-8 and 4-9 lakhs respectively, and were made especially for this purpose. The traffic is, however, small, and in 1903-4 only 14,221 forts of goods, valued at Rs. 90,000, were carried. The navigation receipts were Rs. 1,600, and the expenditure was Rs. 6,500. Navigation was finally stopped in 1904, as it interfered with irrigation, which is the prime object of the canal.

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