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Drowned and DammedColonial Capitalism and Flood Control in Eastern India$
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Rohan D'Souza

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195682175

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195682175.001.0001

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Production of the River

Production of the River

(p.182) 6 Production of the River
Drowned and Dammed

Rohan D’Souza

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the introduction of Multi-Purpose River Valley Development (MPRVD) and the Hirakud Dam in particular as being centrally involved in the political shaping of hydraulic technology in India. Introduction of MPRVD projects in India ran alongside or rather was prefaced on the wearing away of the provincial government’s control over and access to their hydraulic endowments. MPRVD schemes were soon spread not just physically but metaphorically and ideologically as well for calibrating a specific type of social temperature for rule in India’s immediate post-independence years. The Mahanadi was to be physically transformed into a sequence of calibrated flows, intended finally to be harnessed as a unit of capital. The history of flood-control in Orissa helps reveal the determining character of colonial capitalism in general and the latter’s relationships with the natural world in particular.

Keywords:   Multi-Purpose River Valley Development (MPRVD), Hirakud Dam, India, hydraulic technology, Mahanadi, Orissa, colonial capitalism, flood-control

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