Friday, December 9, 2022

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya: Architect behind Jamshedpur’s Dimna Water Supply Project

September 15 is Engineers’ Day

Jamshedpur, Sep 14: India celebrates Engineer’s Day every year on September 15 to mark the birth anniversary of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, Bharat Ratna recipient and engineering pioneer of India. Sir M Visvesvaraya was a scholar, a builder, a statesman, an educationist.

Sir M Visvesvaraya joined the Board of Directors of Tata Steel on November 12, 1927. He remained a Tata Steel Director for 27 years (1927-1955) during which he gave valuable guidance for the Technical Institute, reorganization and reforms for improvements in the Steel Works and Dimna Nala Water Supply Scheme.

Dimna in 1944

Sir M Visvesvaraya was an expert on irrigation projects. Hence, the Board of Directors entrusted him with a scheme involving the construction of reservoir on the Dimna Nala. In late 1930s, it was felt that water scarcity could hit the people of Jamshedpur as the city’s population was increasing rapidly. The project to deal with this exigency was announced and named as Dimna Nala Water Supply Scheme. Accordingly, Sir M Visvesvaraya made an in-depth study relating the future need of water for the Tata Steel Works and the city of Jamshedpur. On the basis of his recommendations, the construction to build the Dimna Dam started in February 1940. The project was successfully completed and water was supplied to the city for the first time on April 17, 1944.


The brainchild of Sir M Visvesvaraya, Research & Development Department of Tata Steel was founded on September 14, 1937, and the R&D building was inaugurated by then Chairman of the Company, Sir Nowroji Saklatvala. It was for the first time in India that a company had its own R&D Division.

Visit of Sir M Visvesvaraya to Jamshedpur (erstwhile Sakchi) in 1917

Sir M Visvesvaraya was appointed Chairman of an enquiry committee to prepare an exhaustive report into the working of the Jamshedpur Technical Institute (now Shavak Nanavati Technical Institute).

Research & Control Laboratory

The report prepared by Sir M Visvesvaraya was accepted by the Board of Directors. One of the recommendations was that the Jamshedpur Technical Institute should be administered by an advisory committee having at its head an Indian officer of the Steel Company of good metallurgical experience. The recommendations suggested by Sir M Visvesvaraya became the base for total re-organisation of the institute in 1932.

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