Punjab Latest Current GK General knowledge general Awareness Free online ArticlePunjab
Area 50,362 sq. km
Principal Languages Punjabi
History and Geography
Ancient Punjab formed part of the vast Indo-Iranian region. In later years it saw the rise and fall of the Mauryas, Bactrians, Greeks, Sakas, Kushans and Guptas. Medieval Punjab saw supremacy of the Muslims. Ghaznavi was followed by the Ghoris, the slaves, the Khiljis, the Tughlaks, the Lodhis and the Mughals. Fifteenth and sixteenth centuries marked a period of watershed in the history of Punjab. Through teachings of Guru Nanak, Bhakti movement received a great impetus. Sikhism began as a socio-religious movement, which was more interested in fighting evils in religion and society. It was Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru, who transformed the Sikhs into the Khalsa. They rose to challenge tyranny and after centuries of servitude, established a humane Punjabi Raj based on secularism and patriotism. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in the works of a Persian writer, changed Punjab from Madam Kada to Bagh-Bahist (from the abode of sorrow to the garden of paradise). But soon after his death the entire edifice collapsed due to internal intrigues and British machinations. After two abortive Anglo-Sikh wars, Punjab was finally annexed to the British Empire in 1849.
The fight against the British rule had begun long before Mahatma Gandhi's arrival on the scene. The revolt found expression through the movement of a revivalist or reformist character. First, it was the Namdhari sect, which believed in self-discipline and self-rule. Later, it was Lala Lajpat Rai who played a leading role in the Freedom Movement. Punjab was in the vanguard of India's freedom struggle on all fronts in India and abroad. Punjab's hardships did not end with Independence. It had to face the misery of Partition with large-scale bloodshed and migration. Besides their rehabilitation, there was the task of reorganization of the State.
Eight princely states of East Punjab were grouped together to form a single State called PEPSU (Patiala and the East Punjab States Union) with Patiala as its capital. PEPSU state was merged with Punjab in 1956. Later in 1966, Haryana was carved out of Punjab and during the same year the erstwhile capital of Punjab was shifted from Shimla to Chandigarh.
Situated in the north-western corner of the country, Punjab is bound on the west by Pakistan, on the north by Jammu and Kashmir, on the north-east by Himachal Pradesh and on the south by Haryana and Rajasthan. There are 13 Members of Parliament from Punjab and 117 Members of Legislature are elected to form the State Government.
The State has 84% of its total geographical area (50.33 lakh hectares) under cultivation. The cropping intensity is around 189% with over 97% of the cultivable area being under assured irrigation. The State produces 20% of the country's wheat, 11% rice, 13% cotton and contributes significantly to the Central Pool with about 50% wheat and 40% rice. The paddy and wheat productivity in the State is 4022 kg/ha and 4450 kg/ha against the national average of 2173 kg/ha and 2868 kg/ha respectively. Fertilizer consumption at 225 kg/ha is almost two times higher than the national average of 113 kg/ha. The State's farm economy is highly mechanized owing 18% of the country's tractors. During 2008-09 the production of Paddy was 167 lakh mt against which 132.18 lakh mt was procured and production of wheat was 157 lakh mt against which a record 109.84 lakh mt was procured.
There are 1.54 lakh small-scale and 375 large and medium units in the state of Punjab as on 31/3/2009. These units produce bicycle parts, sewing machines, hand tools, machine tools, auto parts, electric good items, sports goods, surgical instruments, leather goods, hosiery, knitwear, nuts and bolts, textile goods, textile, sugar, vegetable oil, etc., giving employment to about 11.69 lakh persons. S.A.S Nagar, (Mohali) in the vicinity of Chandigarh has emerged as an attractive destination for IT and IT enabled industries. Under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (IIUS), Government of India has approved Machine Tools Cluster at Batala. Government of India is yet to approve the proposals for setting up of Hand Tool Cluster at Jalandhar and Common Facility Centre for Knitwear and Apparel Exporters Organization, at Ludhiana. State Government proposes to set up three more clusters namely steel Rolling Mills Cluster, Mandi Gobindgarh, Information Technology Park and Development of Spinning Industry, for these project reports are being prepared. Besides, above mentioned clusters, 22 clusters of Micro, Small & Medium industries have been identified for development in the state and have been sent to Micro Small& Medium Enterprises, Government of India, New Delhi. Out of these, 13 proposals have been approved by Government of India for conducting Diagnostic Study Report.
Development of Industry has been adversely affected in the State as a result of withdrawal of Freight Equalization on coal and Iron & Steel by Government of India. This has been further compounded with grant of tax exemption to the neighbouring States of Himachal Pradesh & Jammu & Kashmir. As a result a large number of Industrial Units from Punjab have expanded their capacities by making investments in the State of Himachal Pradesh & Jammu & Kashmir.
The total Geographical area of the State is 50.36 lakh hectares, out of which about 41.74 lakh hectares area is under cultivation. After partition of the country in 1947, Indus water treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan restricted India's right to usage to only three eastern rivers Satluj, Beas and Ravi. The State has three dams namely Bhakra Dam with storage capacity of 5.60 MAF constructed on River Satluj, Pong Dam with storage capacity 1.90 MAF constructed on River Ravi. At present the area under irrigation is 40.77 lakh hectares, which is 97.68% of the area under cultivation. The canal surface water distribution System consists of 14500 km of Canals/ Distributaries covering six major systems in the state namely: Sirhind Canal system, Bhakra Main Line, Bist Doab Canal, Upper Bari Doab Canal, Sirhind feeder and Eastern canal. 27% area is irrigated by canal surface water and 73% area by 12.82 lakh tubewells. The total length of watercourses is 1,20,000 km in the State, out of which 41,294 km watercourses has been lined so far. The canal water and electricity is being provided free of cost to the farmers in the State.
Project for remodeling of UBDC System to utilise additional water available on completion of Ranjit Sagar Dam has been completed under AIBP at a cost of Rs.177.80 crore and benefited the 118 thousand hectares area of Amritsar and Gurdaspur district. The problem of adequate water discharge in Kasur Branch Lower and Sabraon Branch Canal System has been removed by undertaking the remodeling of their parent channel i.e., Kasur Branch Upper, thereby restoring adequate canal water supplies to the vast agricultural area of UBDC System.
It is proposed to convert Banur Canal System from non-perennial to perennial under the Project costing Rs.58.15 crore. A consolidated Project costing Rs.299.22 crore for increasing capacity of various channels of BML Canal System, Sirhind Feeder System, Bist Doab Canal System and Eastern Canal System has been proposed for funding by NABARD under which an additional irrigation potential of 33,000 hectares will be created.
The backward Kandi Area in Punjab has been developed by constructing 12 Low Dams with estimate cost of Rs.420.00 crore which will further provide irrigation facilities to 12000 hectares. Similarly with the completion of Kandi canal from Talwara to Balachaur an additional area of 29640 hectares will be brought under irrigation. Besides, 1800 deep tubewells are being energized in the Kandi area for irrigation purposes.
84800 hectare area is affected by water logging out of total area of 263929 Ha of three districts Ferozepur, Mukatsar and Faridkot. The impact of high water table in the southern part of state has been reduced with the construction of new drains and the maintenance of existing 8000 km of drains. Besides 1800 km of flood protection embankments and about 3800 river training works have also been completed. Installation of shallow tubewell along Sirhind Feeder in the most critical area also helped arresting the seepage from the canal. In order to arrest the menace of water logging in Ferozepur, Faridkot and Mukatsar districts by relining of Rajasthan Canal and Sirhind Feeder with an approximate cost of Rs.1440 crore under AIBP. The central Punjab faces water depletion in 112 blocks (70%) out of 141 blocks declared dark in thee central Punjab.
The present generation capacity of Punjab is 6841 MW, whereas peak unrestricted demand is about 9000 MW. There is a shortfall of 30% of peak demand. The construction of Bhakra Nangal Complex including Bhakra Dam, Bhakra Main line, Nangal Hydel Channel, Ganguwal and Kotla Power House, Harike Barrage, Sirhind Feeder, remodelling of Madhopur Headwork into barrage, etc., and Beas Dam at Pong have been some of the major Irrigation and Hydroelectric Projects which have played a significant role in enhancing the irrigation and power potential of the State. Madhopur Beas Link was constructed to transfer surplus water of Ravi to Beas. A similar Beas-Satluj Link Project envisages the utilisation of the Beas water for the production of electricity at slapper and then transferring this water to Gobind Sagar lake. The Mukerian and Anandpur Sahib Hydroelectric projects are two important irrigation and power projects.
All the four units of Ranjit Sagar Dam (4 x 150 MW) have been commissioned successfully. Annual generation from this project shall be 2,100 MUs' out of which 4.6 per cent of energy generated shall be supplied to Himachal Pradesh and 20 per cent energy generated shall be supplied to J&K at genuine cost. By the completion of this dam, water of all three rivers allocated to Punjab under Indus Water Treaty will be harnessed. About Rs.500 crore per annum has started accruing. Moreover this project is likely to cover its own cost by the next four or five years. Four new thermal Power Plant are being setup in the State namely Talwandi Sabho (1980 MW) in Bathinda district, Rajpura (1320 MW) in Patiala district, Gidderbaha (2640 MW) in Mukatsar district and Goindwal Sahib (540 MW) in Tarn Taran district.
Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has installed about 200, 2HP Solar Photovoltaic Water Pump Sets for irrigation purposes in the state. 16 Mini Hydel (15.85 MW) and 28 Micro Hydel (35 MW) Projects have been commissioned on BOO basis. PEDA has also commissioned Rs.4.5 crore, 200 kwp Solar Photovoltaic Grid Interactive Power Plant at village Khatkar, Kalan, Distt. Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar 218.65 MW Biomass/Baggasse based cogeneration power projects have been commissioned in the State.
Punjab Energy Development Agency being the State designated agency for implementation of Energy Conservation Act 2001 in the state of Punjab, has initiated activities such as publicity and awareness of Energy Conservation/energy efficiency through print/electronic media, energy audit of building and industries, demo projects of energy efficiency in Municipal street lighting and water pumping, mandatory measure announcements, promotion of CFL/energy efficient lighting in domestic sector.
Roads: Public Works Department (Building and Roads) has been responsible for roads, bridges and buildings. The total road network length is 63833 kms., consisting of 1739 kms National Highways. 1462 kms State Highways, 5968 kms Major and other District Roads, 45000 kms Rural Link Roads, 8130 kms Urban Roads, 1534 kms Project Roads. Out of total 3400.02 kms rural roads, new construction of 815.16 kms and upgradation of 2584.86 kms under PMGSY has been completed.
Aviation: : There are three Civil Aviation Clubs at Ludhiana, Patiala and Amritsar. There is a domestic Airport at Chandigarh an International Airport at Rajasansi (Amritsar and two Aerodromes at Patiala and Ludhiana (Sahnewal). Two Aviation Clubs are coming up at Faridkot and Talwandi Sabo.
Fairs and Festivals
Besides festivals of Dussehra, Diwali, Holi, other important festivals/fairs/melas are Maghi Mela at Mukatsar, Rural Sports at Kila Raipur, Basant at Patiala, Holla Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib, Baisakhi at Talwandi Saboo, Urs at Rauza Sharif at Sirhind, Chappar Mela at Chappar, Skeikh Farid Agam Purb at Faridkot, Ram Tirath at Village Ram Tirath, Shaheedi Jor Mela at Sirhind, Harballah Sangeet Sammelan Baba Sodal at Jalandhar. In addition to above Fairs and Festivals three heritage festivals at Amritsar, Patiala, Kapurthala are also celebrated every year and are very popular among the tourists.
The State has a large number of places of tourist interest some of which include Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh and the Wagah Border in Amritsar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib and Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib, Bhakra Dam, Qila Androon, Moti Bagh Palace and Chattbir Zoo at Patiala, Wetland at Harike Pattan, Sanghol (district Fatehgarh Sahib) and Rupnagar archeological Musem at Rupnagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial at Village Khatkar Kalan, SBS Nagar for archeological importance, Mughal Complex at Aam Khas Bagh, Rauza Sharif of Sheikh Ahmed at Graves of Afghan Rulers at Sirhind and Sodal Temple at Jalandhar, commemorative of Maharishi Balmiki Heritage.
To meet the requirement of trained manpower in tourism Industry and enhancement of employment generation the State Government has introduced the Hospitality courses in Schools, Colleges. LT.Is and Polytechnics.
In Rural areas, the scheme of Farm Tourism has been launched to provide better opportunities of employment with the assistance of District Administration. Until now 23 farm houses have been registered under Diamond/Gold/Silver category. Besides this, to explore the resources of the State, the project of Heritage Village is being set up at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar with an estimated cost of Rs.22.00 crore. Quila Gobind Garh Fort, Amritsar which has been handed over to the State Government by the Army, is being renovated and conserved to be opened for general public. The Department of Tourism, Punjab has got prepared Tourism Master Plan from the UNWTO.
Punjab Government is paying monthly pension of Rs.250/- to 12.30 lakh old persons (60 and above for women and 65 and above for men), 84,568 destitute children, 1,10,967 disabled persons and 2.14 lakh widows Rs.468.00 crore has been allocated for 2009-10 for payment of pensions to these 16.40 lakh persons.
Under "Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension" scheme, Rs.200 p.m. over and above the pension paid by the State Government is given to disabled, issueless persons, widows and destitute old persons of 65 years and above belonging to below poverty line families. 100% ACA is provided for this purpose by GOI under National Social Assistance Programme. 1,59,292 beneficiaries are covered in Punjab under this scheme.
Source: India 2010 - A Reference Annual