India Procures Ellicott Dredges for Flood Control and Port Work (1961)

Improvement and development of a minor river in the Minor Ports in India, which will significantly affect the nation’s overall economic progress is to be carried out by several Ellicott dredges.

Two of these units, 12-inch hydraulic pipeline models of Ellicott’s portable “DRAGON” class, have been purchased by the Jammu and Kashmir government.  They are to be applied to a flood control project on the Jehlum River.

This waterway, which flows through the Srinigar Valley in Kashmir, floods adjacent agricultural areas each year, washing out important crops and rendering many people homeless.  The flooding is caused by the raising, over the years, of the level of the river bed which makes the Jehlum incapable of handling the maximum volume of water flowing into it each spring when the snows on the surrounding Himalayas melt.  This condition is further aggrivated by several tributaries carrying additional snow water and silt from nearby hills into the Jehlum.

Contract negotiations were completed by Ellicott’s authorized representative Blackwood Hodge (India) Pvt. Ltd. and the “DRAGONS,” were partially manufactured in India by Ellicott’s licensee, The Hooghly Docking and Engineering Company of Howrah.  They have been placed in operation to widen and deepen a 17 mile outfall channel to a bed width of 400-450 feet and a depth of about 22 feet below high water datum.  This river dredging, which is estimated to accommodate the seasonal melting snow water, will involve the removal of between 8 and 10 million cubic yards of solids, varying in type from coarse river sand to compacted clay and small gravel.

Both dredges are now operating.  The first started work following commissioning ceremonies honored by the presence of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  They have a digging depth of 26 feet, a maximum output of approximately 250 cubic yards per hour and can pump through pipelines varying in length up to 3,000 feet.

The portability of the dredges, insured by their matchmarked part construction, proved advantageous to their delivery.  As no rail communications were available from Pathankote to the dredging site at Buramulla, near Srinigar, Kashmir’s capitol, it was necessary to convey them by truck over some 300 miles of steep and winding mountain roads.  Narrow roadways and bridges had to be considered in the gross weight and widths of the truck loads.  However, the dredges’ sectionalized design enabled the problems of transport to be met and the floating excavators to be moved to the job site satisfactorily.

Minor Ports Project

The second major development involving Ellicott dredges is the improvement of a number of Minor Ports on India’s east and west coasts, their usefulness restricted by the pile up of submerged sandbars and spits at harbor entrances.  To overcome these navigational hindrances, two 22-inch Ellicott designed self-propelled, sea-going hydraulic partial-electric pipeline dredges have been ordered.  Also to be partially manufactured in India by “Hooghly,” the contract for them was signed recently between Ellicott and the India Supply Mission in Washington.

These two units will form the nucleus of a dredge pool established by the Government of India, Ministry of Transport and will be based in the ports of Bombay and Visakhaptnam.  Because of the dredging required in the open sea, over sandbars and exposed entrance channels they have been uniquely designed as sea-going and self-propelled.

The Minor Ports, along India’s 3,000 mile coastline, handle millions of tons of cargo yearly including vital exports of high-grade iron ore, manganese, tea, cotton, salt, bauxite, hides and mica.  Continuous maintenance dredging to permit vessels of sufficient draft to enter the harbors for loading the export items is of fundamental importance to the continuance and expansion of India’s international trade.  These dredges will contribute materially toward the achieving of this objective.

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