Farakka Barrage Project with its headquarter at Farakka in Murshidabad district of West Bengal is a subordinate office under the Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti. The Farakka Barrage Project Authority was set up in 1961 with the mandate to execute and thereafter operate and maintain the Farakka Barrage Project Complex. The project construction commenced in 1961 and the project was commissioned and dedicated to the Nation in May 1975.
The Farakka Barrage Project was designed to serve the need of preservation and maintenance of the Kolkata Port by improving the regime and navigability of the Bhagirathi-Hoogly river system. In addition to this, now the project has been serving other purposes such as water supply to power plants of NTPC Ltd, Farakka (2100MW) and WBPDC Sagardighi (1600MW); provides rail-cum-road communication link between North-Eastern Region and Eastern part of the country; regulation of water to Bangladesh as per Indo-Bangladesh Treaty-1996 on sharing of Ganga Water at Farakka; fresh water supply to Kolkata city and en-route cities, etc.
The Farakka Barrage Project organization has been assigned the work for operation and maintenance of the following principal components of the Project:
(i) Farakka Barrage: The main barrage has a length of 2,245 m with 109 Gates having 18.30 m span. The design discharge of the barrage is 76,500 cumecs across the mighty Ganga river at Farakka in Murshidabad. Gates numbered 1 to 24 are under sluice gates with a height of 7.93 m and gates numbered 25 to 109 are spillway gates with a height of 6.40 m. And protection works of barrage in the upstream and the downstream of the barrage near to the gates.
(ii) Head Regulator: At the upstream of the barrage on its right bank, the head regulator was constructed with 11 gates of 12.19 m span. The head regulator controls the diversion of 40,000 cusecs of Ganga water into the Feeder Canal.
(iii) Feeder Canal: The length of the Feeder canal is 38.38 km which originates in the upstream of the barrage to carry a discharge of 40,000 cusecs into the river Bhagirathi-Hooghly mainly for the preservation of Kolkata Port. The Bhagirathi Ganga waterway is the National Waterway No.1 for the inland transport facilities from Allahabad to Kolkata operated by IWAI. The Feeder canal has several cross-drainage structures for irrigation, communication, and removal of drainage congestion. It has around 17 jetties for ferry service, 2 road cum rail bridges, 2 road bridges, 3 inlets, 1 syphon and 2 drainage regulators.
(iv) Navigational Lock at Farakka: In order to facilitate the navigation vessel from Ganga to Bhagirathi via Feeder canal, a navigational lock is provided having a width 25.15 m and length 180.7 m along with two giant gates of dimensions 25.15 m x 12.6 m on the upstream and 25.15 m x 10.52 m in the downstream. Floating caisson type emergency gates are provided to carry the repair works and other facilities such as jetties, shelter basin, gauges, ladders hooks, floating mooring bitts, fixtures, fenders, bollards etc. have also been provided to aid the navigation smoothly. The navigational lock has been now transferred to IWAI in the year 2018 for their operational requirement.
(v) Jangipur Barrage: It has been constructed across the river Bhagirathi near its off take from the river Ganga. The main function of Jangipur barrage is to regulate the flow of Ganga water into the Bhagirathi and vice versa. It has 15 gates of 12.20 m span. A navigational lock on bypass channel alongside of Jangipur barrage was also constructed.
(vi) Guide Bunds and Afflux Bunds: In order to maintain the safety of the barrages, four guide bunds are provided along both the banks at Farakka and Jangipur. The Left Afflux Bund (LAB) with inspection road is 34 km long along with several regulators across rivers at Pagla, Tutianala, Nimjala, Bhagirathi and Kalindri. The Right Afflux Bund (RAB) is 10 km long. The Left bank protection works on the upstream of the barrage is carried out for the protection of riverbanks and thickly populated villages close to the embankment.
(vii) Township: A large township is maintained by the Farakka Barrage Project which consists of residential and non-residential buildings at Farakka and two other townships at Jangipur and Khejuriaghat.
(viii) School & Hospital: A higher secondary school and hospital with bed capacity of 40 is maintained by the Farakka Barrage Project for the welfare and health care of employees including CISF Personnel working for the scheme.
(ix) Ferry Services: At various locations of Feeder Canal, ferry services are provided for communication of villagers residing on both sides of canal banks.
(x) Anti-erosion Works: Protection works against bank/bed erosion of river Ganga is being executed along the bank of river Ganga up to 12.5 km upstream and 6.9 km downstream of the Farakka Barrage. Anti-erosion works are also executed along the feeder canal.
(xi) Maintenance of Road Bridge: The renovation and maintenance of PSC Road Bridge includes replacement of damaged portion of super structure and sub structure, bearings, surfacing, road marking, bridge lighting, etc.
(xii) Other Hydraulic Structures: The organization also looks after other appurtenant structures such as Pagla regulator, Bhagirathi regulator, Kalindi regulator, Maha Pagla regulator, Bansloi regulator,Bagmari syphon, etc.