Gustakhi Maaf Haryana: When Pt. Nehru made tea for Bhakra Engineer.-Forgotten Heroes of Bhakra Dam

Extracts from my upcoming book on politics, culture and governance of Haryana


Gustakhi Maaf Haryana-Pawan Kumar Bansal

When Pt. Nehru made tea for Bhakra Engineer.-Forgotten Heroes of Bhakra Dam, Part:1

Even I who claim to be covering Haryana for last five decades had the impression that farmer’s mesiha Sir Chottu Ram and Ranbir Singh ,freedom fighter and member of constituent assembly were the pioneers behind the birth of Bhakra Dam described as temple of modern India by late PM Jawahar Lal Nehru.

But when I met several stakeholders for my book I came to know that it was only a half truth. Undoubtedly Sir, Chhotu Ram took lot of interest in the project though he could not see it functional. In the words of C. B. Singh Sheoran, retired Chief Engineer, Irrigation, Haryana and author of book “Dynamic Story of Bhakra”, the great peasant Leader and visionary Sir, Chhotu Ram made fundamental and significant contributions in giving a concrete shape to this resurgent India’s symbol for creativity.

Role of Ranbir Singh was confined only to the extent that when Jawahar lal Nehru as PM, had dedicated the Dam to the nation, he in his capacity as Irrigation Minister of Punjab had received Nehru along with Partap Singh Kairo the CM of Punjab.

I am sharing with my enlightened readers an interesting and rare picture showing Late Pt Nehru making tea for Mr Slocum ,the Chief Consulting US Engineer reflecting on the kind of respect being given to experts in those times.

One more interesting fact which I learnt was that the entire project was constructed by the project engineers without engaging any contracting firm. It is not without reason that this great project had been constructed with the impeccable construction standards. My salute to the engineers.

Slocum, international fame engineer from US was engaged by the Indian govt as the Chief Consultant and he had full support from and direct access to Nehru.

Retired Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation, Haryana and an enlightened reader of  “Gustakhi Maaf Haryana”  R.K.Garg shared a very interesting anecdote which reflects upon the close rapport between Slocum and Nehru.
At one time Railway bogies were not being made available to the project delaying the carrying of important construction materials at site.

When it was not found possible to manage the issue at any level, Slocum sent a telegram to Pandit ji requesting him to send some camels to the project. Intrigued PM enquired about the problem and bogies as needed were immediately made available.“
Political leaders, engineers including Kanwar Sen and workers had contributed and a large number of them sacrificed their lives due to hostile climate at site and other hazards.

Gurugram,15th December,2023.

Author could be contacted at

To be continued.

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