(i) Origin of the Name of the District.- Amritsar means “the tank of nectar or the tank of immortality” and the district derives its name from the sacred tank in the Amritsar city. The present Golden Temple is surrounded by this tank which was originally a small natural pool and is said to have been visited by Guru Nanak Dev. The site was permanently occupied by the Fourth Guru, Ram Das, who in 1577 obtained more of land in its neighbourhood. The pool soon acquired a reputation for sanctity, and the followers of the Guru migrated to the sacred spot, and there a small town grew up and was known at first as Ramdaspur or Guru-ka-Chak, and later, as the pool was converted into a tank, it came to be known as Amritsar.


            (ii) Location, General Boundaries, Total Area and Population of the District.-The Amritsar District falls in the Jullundur Division of the Punjab. In shape, it is a trapezium, with its base resting on the River Beas. It forms a part of the tract known as the Bari Doab or the territory lying between the rivers Ravi and Beas. Its western side adjoins Pakistan, partly separated by the River Ravi. The north-eastern side is bounded by the Gurdaspur District, and towards it south-east across the River Beas lie the Kapurthala and Firozpur districts.


            The district is divided into four tahsils or subdivisions, viz, Amritsar to the north-east, Ajnala to the north-west, Patti to the south-west, and Tarn Taran in between Patti and Amritsar. All important places in the district are connected by rail or road.


            The total area of the district, as in 1970, was 5087.91 sq. km. comprising Tahsil Amritsar 1432.39 sq. km., Tahsil Ajnala 1095.02 sq. km., Tahsil Patti 1045.39 sq. km., and Tahsil Tarn Taran 1515.11 sq. km. approximately.


            Gian Singh Giani, Bhai, Tawarikh Guru Khalsa, Vol. I, (reprinted Patiala, 1970), pp. 63, 343


            According to the Punjab Government, Revenue Department, Notification No. 564-Rg-I-70/737, dated the 17th March, 1970 (published in the Punjab Government Gazette, Extraordinary, dated the 20th March, 1970), nine villages, viz. Bala Megha, Muthianwala, Jaman Megha, Kamalwala, Nihala Lawara, Dhera Ghara, Tali Ghulam, Bandala and Kaleke Hithar, with a total area of 36.09 sq. km. approximately, of Tahsil Patti, District Amritsar, were transferred to District Firozpur. This has reduced the area of Tahsil Patti from 1081.48 sq. km. to 1045.39 sq. km. approximately, and of District Amritsar from 5124 sq. km. to 5087.91 sq. km. approximately.


            The total population of the district, according to the 1961 Census, was 1534916, comprising 827821 males and 707095 females.


            (iii) History of the District as an Administrative Unit and the Changes in Its Component Parts.- The existence of Amritsar as a district dates from the annexation of the Punjab by the British in 1849. Mr. L. Saunders took charge in April of that year as Deputy Commissioner. As at first formed, the district contained four tahsils, viz. Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Rayya (or Narowal). The last, which was separated by the River Ravi from the rest of the Amritsar District, was transferred to the Sialkot District (now in Pakistan) in 1867. At the same time, the Batala Tahsil was added to the Amritsar District from the Gurdaspur District but the arrangement was found to be inconvenient, and was objected to by the people. It was restored to Gurdaspur in 1869. The boundaries of the three remaining tahsils, viz. Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ajnala, have not always been as they now are. The villages immediately around Atari were included in the Lahore District (Pakistan) up to 1854 when they were added to the Amritsar District during the first regular settlement. The south-east of the present Amritsar Tahsil, corresponding roughly with the Sikh taluqas of Sathiala and Butala, belonged to Tarn Taran, whereas at the north end of the tahsil there are groups of villages, now in Ajnala and Tarn Taran, which uptil 1854 were included in Amritsar. To straighten the tahsil boundaries, which were very straggling and inconvenient and to bring all the Grand Trunk Road below the Amritsar City into the Amritsar Tahsil, various transfers of villages were made, but all before 1854, and since that date the limits of these three tahsils (which formed the Amritsar District up to the partition of the country in 1947) remained substantially the same.


            On the partition of 1947, 186 villages, including Patti, of the Kasur Tahsil of the Lahore District of Pakistan, were transferred to the Amritsar District and formed into a sub-tahsil with headquarters at Patti. Patti became a full-fledged tahsil in June 1949 and a subdivision in 1955.


            On August 14, 1952, the following 67 villages or estates of the Tarn Taran Tahsil were transferred to the Patti Tahsil. Out of these, 52 villages (S. Nos. 1-52 below) were transferred back to the Tarn Taran Tahsil four years later on June 25, 1956. In 1962, another village, Kamalpur (S. No.59 below), was transferred from Patti back to the Tarn Taran Tahsil.




Names of villages/estates transferred from the Tarn Taran Tahsil to the Patti Tahsil on 14th August, 1952


(1) Khara

(23) Chak Sikandar

(45) Sirhali Mandan

(2) Junka

(24) Muse

(46) Chak Sirhali

(3) Ruri Wala

(25) Dobalian

(47) Rania

(4) Dhattal

(26) Maluwal

(48) Zanardar

(5) Nathupura

(27) Nurpur

(49) Durgapur Sharqi

(6) Marhana

(28) Miani

(50) Shakri

(7) Gandiwind

(29) Jhamka

(51) Mahna

(8) Bahamniwala

(30) Sarai Diwana

(52) Gulali Pur

(9) Abboke

(31) Sheikh

(53) Pangota

(10) Mohan Pura

(32) Bhure

(54) Pingari

(11) Dargapur Gharbi

(33) Theh Brahman

(55) Rai Pur Balam

(12) Thatian

(34) Waryah

(56) Nadohar

(13) Kheda

(35) Sohawa

(57) Kot Data

(14) Nathu Chak

(36) Jovinda Kalan

(58) Nathupur Toda

(15) Kairon

(37) Khaba Rajputan

(59) Kamalpur

(16) Lauhka

(38) Nand Pur

(60) Lakhana

(17) Paddri

(39) Jallowala

(61) Bargari

(18) Chhichhrewal

(40) Shahbaz Pur

(62) Jamalpur

(19) Jora

(41) Dial Rajputan

(63) Begey Pur

(20) Gopala

(42) Dodiar

(64) Bua

(21) Ram Rauni

(43) Sirhali Kalan

(65) Tappa

(22) Koharka

(44) Wan

(66) Tatle



(67) Karyala


            There remained a dispute between India and Pakistan regarding the ownership of the village of Chak Ladheke (Tahsil Tarn Taran) up to January 1960, when it was accepted as a territory of India according to the India-Pakistan Agreement of January 1960.


            From 1849 to 1859, the district formed part of the Lahore Division (Pakistan). In the latter year, a new division was formed, with its headquarters at Amritsar and comprising the districts of Sialkot (Pakistan), Amritsar and Gurdaspur. This arrangement continued until November 1884, when the Punjab Divisions were reorganized and the commissionerships were reduced from ten to six. This again threw the Amritsar District into the Lahore Division. On the partition of the country in 1947, the district was included in the Jullundur Division.


            (iv) Subdivisions, Tahsils and Thanas.-The district is divided into four tahsils, viz. Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Patti, all of which have been formed into subdivisions-Amritsar in 1965, Tarn Taran in 1964, Ajnala in 1962 and Patti in 1955, and are under the administrative control of the respective Subdivisional Officers.


            The tahsilwise list of the police stations and police-posts is given in the Chapter ‘General Administration’ on pages 327-28.




            Lying between the River Beas to the east and the River Ravi to the west, the Amritsar District, which forms the lower part of the Upper Bari Doab, is one of the interfluvial tracts of the Punjab Plain. The River Beas, which separates the Amritsar District from the Kapurthala District, joins the Satluj River near the point where the four districts of Lahore (Pakistan), Firozpur, Amritsar and Kapurthala meet.


            The Punjab Plain is largely flat and featureless and it is formed of the Pleistocene and the sub-recent alluvium deposited by the rivers of the Indo-Gangetic system. As such, the physiography of the Amritsar District is product of alluviation by the Beas and the Ravi rivers. The existing soil is a light reddish-yellow loam, known to the people as maira, but it stiffens into rohi or clay, in which the surface drainage collects on its way down the doab from the hills, and occasionally degenerates into strips of sandy, slightly uneven soil, locally known as tibba, bare of trees and apt to be blown into hummocks by the wind. There are no hills within the limits of this district, and nothing of the nature of rock or stone is to be met. The formation is distinctly alluvial. Though apparently of a uniform level, the country falls away to the west from the high right bank of the Beas to the left bank of the Ravi and there is also a gentle slope, of perhaps one feet and a quarter in a kilometer, down the doab, which slightly broadens out as the two rivers diverge after issuing from the hills above Gurdaspur. The district is devoid of impressive natural features, except the dhaya, as the cliffs forming the high bank of the Beas are called, the sandy ridge running down the doab, the scarcely perceptible drainage lines which carry off the surface water, and the perennial stream known in Ajnala as the Sakki.


            The Amritsar District is a continuous level plain, unbroken by hills or valleys. It ranges in its elevation from about 200 metres in the north-east to about 175 metres in the south-west, with a very gentle gradient of one metre in four kilometers. It points out that the district has a flat topography, in general.


            However, an interfluvial tract like that of the Amritsar District cannot be homogeneous throughout, as the terrain of the floodplains must differ from that of the upland plains situated away from the rivers. Indeed one can distinguish the following terrain units in the district on close observation :


(i)                The Upland Plain

(ii)               The Bluff along the Beas

(iii)             The Floodplain of the Satluj


(i) The Upland Plain.-Covering about 88 per cent of the total area, the Upland Plain spreads over almost the whole district, except the western half of the Ajnala Tahsil, the eastern margins of the Amritsar and Tarn Taran tahsils, and the southern part of the Patti Tahsil. This plain abruptly rises above the Beas River in the east and slopes very gently towards the Ravi. It possesses a firm base of old alluvium and has an appearance of a vast stretch of level land. There are, of course, a few sporadically distributed sand mounds and clay mounds, with a local relief of only 2 to 6 metres. The city of Amritsar, which is situated in this tract, has an elevation of 192 metres above the mean sea-level.


            (ii) The Floodplain of the Ravi.-The floodplain of the Ravi occupies the western half of the Ajnala Tahsil and accounts for about 7 per cent of the total area of the district. It is locally known as the Bet Ravi. It stretches between the Ravi to the west and its tributary Sakki Nala to the east. Thus is becomes a minor interfluve within the main interfluvial tract of the Upper Bari Doab. The Ravi floodplain is a lowlying and waterlogged tract due to flooding by both the Ravi and the Sakki. Its surface configuration is uneven and, at places, it contains abandoned courses of the river, patches of marshy land and thickly growing grass. This tract is now being developed.


            (iii) The Bluff along the Beas.-In contrast to the Ravi, which makes a wide floodplain, the Beas does not form any such feature along its course in the Amritsar and Tarn Taran tahsils of the district. Rather it is adjoined by an abruptly rising bluff varying in the height from 6 to 30 metres from the river bed. The origin of this bluff can be ascribed probably to a tectonic uplift which affected the whole of the Indus-Yamuna divide during the Pleistocene Age.


            (iv) The Floodplain of the Satluj.-Nevertheless, the Beas does not make a floodplain in the Patti Tahsil after its confluence with the River Satluj at Harike, wherefrom the Beas loses its individual entity and the river is known as the Satluj. Therefore, the floodplain in the Patti Tahsil may be called the flood-plain of the Satluj. It covers about 4 per cent of the area of the district. The physiographic characteristics of this tract are similar to those of the floodplain of the Ravi in the Ajnala Tahsil. It also used to be flooded the newly constructed Rajasthan Canal. At present, this tract is almost free from floods and is being reclaimed for agriculture, especially for the settlement of the landless Scheduled Castes population.


            In brief, the physical build-up of the district is typical of an interfluvial tract. It is constituted by the main body of an upland plain with the floodplain of the Ravi to its west and that of the Satluj to its south and a steep bluff rising above the bed of the Beas River in its east.




            (i) Main Rivers and Tributaries.-The Beas and the Ravi are the two master streams of the district. The former forms its border with the Kapurthala District of the Punjab State and the latter separates it from Pakistan. Both the rivers originate near the Rohtang Pass in the Kullu District and traverse through the Himachal Pradesh and the Gurdaspur District before entering the Amritsar District. In consonance with the slope of the land, both of them flow in the north-east and south-west direction.


            The Beas touches the Amritsar District in the vicinity of the village of Sheron. It is adjoined by an abruptly rising bluff to its right throughout its course in the Amritsar and Tarn Taran tahsils. It is joined by the River Satluj at Harike in the Patti Tahsil.


            The Ravi enters the district near the village of Ghoneywala and it moves into Pakistan beyond the village of Ranian. In contrast to the Beas, this river makes a wide floodplain in the Amritsar District. This floodplain has been highly susceptible to floods, causing heavy damage to human settlements, crops and the livestock. The construction of an embankment along the river has, however, reduced the frequency and intensity of floods. The main significance of the Ravi lies in its being the border between India and Pakistan.


            The eastern limit of the floodplain of the Ravi corresponds with the Sakki Nala, which is a tributary of the Ravi and flows parallel to it before meeting it near the village of Kakkar in the Amritsar District. This nala is the continuation of the Kiran Nala which originates from the Chhambs (marshy lands) lying to the south-west of the Pathankot town in the Gurdaspur District. The course of the nala is characteristically sinuous. It floods during the rainy season and this factor has been partly responsible for keeping the western part of the Ajnala Tahsil isolated from the rest of the district till recently. Ajnala is situated on the left bank of this nala. A diversion for the nala near the village of Shahpur has been constructed. It would secure the outfall of the Sakki Nala 96 km upstream of its present outfall and this would save 741 sq. km. of the land around Ajnala from damage owing to floods.


            As in case of other rivers of the Punjab, the discharges of the Beas and the Ravi are subject to wide fluctuations from season to season and from year to year. These rivers contain a trickle of water during the dry winter. with the approach of the summer, snow melts in the source areas of these rivers and their water-level begins to rise. These rivers swell during the rainy season.


            In addition to the Beas and the Ravi and the Sakki Nala, another major source of water in the district is available from the various branches and distributaries of the Upper Bari Doab Canal which runs through the district. The canal had started operating in 1860. Its four main branches passing through the district include from east to west the Sobraon Branch, the Kasur Branch Lower, the Main Branch and the Lahore Branch. It is primarily through this canal that about 90 per cent of the cultivated land in the Amritsar District receives irrigation. Canal irrigation is particularly indispensable in the Tarn Taran and Patti tahsils, where the underground water is usually brackish and is unfit for well or tube-well irrigation.


            However, the extensive canal irrigation, which has been there for more than a century, has caused serious waterlogging conditions. It seems that the Amritsar District is just floating on its subsurface water, which comes up to a metre or two from the surface during the rainy season. Even in the driest month of June, the water-table is only 1.5 to 3 metres below the surface. The wide-spread waterlogging has given rise to kallar (concentration of harmful salts) over extensive areas and some cultivable land has been lost to agriculture. Various measures are being adopted to tackle this problem : the existing Patti and Kasur drains have been deepened and some new drains have been constructed to facilitate the run-off of the underground water. Wherever possible, canal irrigation is being replaced by tube-well irrigation so as to reduce the quantity of underground water and eucalyptus trees are being planted, particularly along the canals, roads and railway lines, so as to soak the extra subsurface water. These measures have already started giving good results.


            Thus, the water resources of the Amritsar District are varied. The district is bordered by two perennial streams on two sides ; it contains a dense network of canals, and its subsurface water reservoir is close to the surface. The underground water is, however, brackish in parts of the Patti and Tarn Taran tahsils. This brackishness discourages its use both for irrigation and drinking.


            The three rivers which touch the district, viz. the Beas, Ravi and Satluj, and also the Sakki Nala, are described below in greater detail :


            River Beas.-The Beas River rises north of the Kullu Valley, and passing through the Kangra District (Himachal Pradesh), and between Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts, enters the sandy valley which divides the Amritsar District from the Kapurthala District. Here, its bank on the right, i.e., the Amritsar side, is an abrupt cliff, the upper stratum of which is hard clay mixed with kankar (lime concretions) and the lower usually, though not always, is fine river sand. At the foot of this cliff, between it and the cold-weather bed of the river, lies a strip of alluvial land, which at some points is as much as three kilometers broad. At other points, the cold-weather stream flows close under the cliffs and in the southern part of the district its set towards Amritsar entails some loss of cultivation and damage to residential sites. At some places, there are embayments caused by the river which cuts into the high cliff consisting of the alluvial deposit of soil. The left bank, on the other hand, is uniformly low, and on the Kapurthala side there is a stretch of moist alluvial land running back for several kilometers into the interior, which is fertile, well-wooded and liable to inundation. There is a tradition that over a century and a quarter ago, the river ran on the site of the village of Mira in the Kapurthala territory, eleven kilometers from its present course, and the depression is still clearly traceable and is now part of the West Bein. In this district, whatever cultivation there is in the valley is carried on between the foot of the cliff and the normal cold-weather stream, or in the embayments caused by the erosion of the cliff. Back from the river, the influence of the cliffs persists for considerable distances in some places, because gullies make cultivation impossible and even spoil the fertility of the hinterland by accelerating the run-off of rain-water before it has time to soak in the soil and benefit it.


            River Ravi.-The Ravi is a river of a different character. The high bank of the Beas affords a measure of security to cultivation in some part of almost every low riverine estate. The rudiments of a dhaya or high bank appear on the left bank of the Sakki Nala in its last 16-kilometre length but this is a long way from the present river and does nothing to mitigate the defencelessness of the villages between the two streams. The villages on the Amritsar side of the river have no protection and the sixty estates officially recognized as liable to river action do not exhaust the limit of the liability to trouble, if there is really a high flood in the river. Every effort is, however, made to ensure that damage to human life and to works of public utility does not occur. The tendency of the river to swallow up the cultivated lands and damage the crops is checked by constructing suitable protective works at vulnerable points, as the situation warrants. In this way, the frequency of the floods is reduced. The Ravi carries rather more fertilizing silt than the Beas (which from the comparative clearness of its water is sometimes called nili or blue dhaar) and where this silt is thrown up, bumper crops of wheat can be raised. But cultivation in the river-bed is always precarious.


            River Satluj.-The Satluj rises from the Mansrover Lake in the Himalayas and flows westwards, entering through the Kinnaur and Mahasu districts of Himachal Pradesh and, after traversing this region, enters the Punjab near Bhakra (Hoshiarpur District). Meandering its course along Nangal, Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur, it enters the plains at Ropar. From Ropar, the river takes its course due westwards, demarcating the boundaries of the Ropar and Hoshiarpur districts, and the Jullundur and Ludhiana districts. From its confluence with the river Beas at Harike (in the Patti Tahsil), it takes the south-west course, forming the external boundary of the Firozpur District with the Jullundur and Amritsar districts. The Satluj was notorious for its floods during the monsoon season, but its capacity to do this mischief has been checked with the construction of the Bhakra Dam and the canals taking off its waters.


            Saki Nala.-The only other perennial stream found in the district is the Sakki Nala. The Sakki begins as the Kiran Nala in the Gurdaspur District where some irrigation is done from an inundation canal taken out of it. This canal tails into the Ajnala Tahsil in Ramdas. In the Amritsar District, the nala has the appearance of a narrow river whose left bank is generally higher than the right bank. Winter discharges are low, but the considerable summer stream is further augmented by unwanted canal water sent down the Aliwal Escape from the Main Branch Upper of the Upper Bari Doab Canal. The stream ends its independent existence where it joins the Ravi at Kakkar. The sinuous course of the Sakki Nala has not only done much to isolate the Sailab and Hithar Circles from the rest of the tahsil and from the markets, but has also stood in the way of the extension of regular canal irrigation to this tract. The stream is sluggish and the erosion of the banks is almost unknown. Damage is done by floods, however, to the spring crops sown on the shelving land sloping down to the edges of the banks, and by spills into depressions leading from the Sakki towards the Ravi. The Sakki is also called Ajal Nala, meaning the stream of death on account of the considerable damage to life and property it causes during the rainy season. A small canal has been taken out from it for irrigation in the Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts.


(ii) Natural Drainage and Artificial Drains


            Amritsar Tahsil.-In the Amritsar Tahsil, east of the Kasur Branch of the Upper Bari Doab Canal, drainage causes no concern. The Patti Rohi often evades the eye in its sandy course southwards and does no appreciable damage. A parallel depression nearer the river has in the past been known by the same name. The Riarki Vang is, strictly speaking, a creek of the river and not a drainage at all. Only the last 8 km of its course to the river is distinct and, throughout this length, the creek runs in a broad deep bed, the banks of which have much the same appearance as the dhaya. Erosion on the sides of this creek has caused greater loss of cultivated land in the tahsil than the river. A short artificial drain runs from the Riarki Vang to the river in Buddha Theh but has never been used to divert water. Drainage does not become an important problem until the Kasur Nala is reached well west of the Kasur Branch. Known in this tahsil as the Hansli, the nala follows a well-defined course from the point where it enters the tahsil from Bata until it passes out into Tarn Taran. On its margins, the soil is stiff and often Kalrathi (salt-infested) and its presence is a handicap to villages whose lands are divided by its passage. Surplus water from the area between the nala and the Main Branch of the Upper Bari Doab Canal is led into the Hansli north of the Grand Trunk Road by the Makhanwindi and Valla drains. South of the road, the drainage is defective in the basin of the Sultanwind Drain, otherwise known as the Mandiala Rohi, where there is much of inferior land. West of the main Branch of the canal, the drainage has always been a matter of serious concern. In the northern part of this tract, surface water collects at many places in the form of chhambs or lakes for which the least destructive outlets have to be found. The Hudiara Drain, starting from the Majitha Fort, was made the central feature of the scheme. Its natural bed was deepened and trained and, since 1927, it has been notified under section 55 of the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act. From this tahsil, it passes on through the Ajnala and Tarn Taran tahsils to the Lahore District of Pakistan, collecting the dregs of the city sewage from the Ganda nala on its way. Sixteen kilometers north of the Amritsar city, close to the Gurdaspur road, the Gumtala Drain begins to carry away the surface water of the north-western part of the tract and, after being joined by the Verka and Tung Dhab drains just north of the city, turns west and ultimately joins the Hudiara Drain in the Ajnala Tahsil. Though not intended to cope with extraordinary conditions, this drainage system improved matters. North of the Lahore Branch, the Vadala Viram chhamb covers sixty-five acres. An attempt has been made without much success to drain it towards the west. Two short drains-the Ghosal and Tarpai-pour surplus water in the same neighbourhood into the Lahore Branch. The trouble here is saturation rather than the surface drainage. The canal carrying a considerable volume of water runs above the level of the surrounding country and there is every evidence of waterlogging. The same is true to some extent of the northern reaches of the Main Branch above the point where it crosses the Gurdaspur metalled road. This tahsil does not show such progressive deterioration as is evident in Tarn Taran. Improvements in drainage have apparently retarded the advance of kallar and, apart from the elimination of local defects in drainage, the primary object of the remedial measures must be the reclamation of the land which is still capable of cultivation.


            Tarn Taran and Patti Tahsils.-The Hudiara Drain enters the Tarn Taran Tahsil at Lahorimal, and leaves it at Rajatal. It now runs in a deep and well-defined bed, for an artificla channel has been cut for it. It follows the line of natural drainage from the flats near Majitha in the Amritsar Tahsil. Into the drain, other artificial drains from the north and east of the Amritsar city are led, before it reaches this tahsil, where it is swollen by the waters of the Atari and Padhiar drains and by the Amritsar Ganda Nala, which carries away the city’s sewage and deposits so much of it, as is not sold on the way, into the Hudiara Drain. Farther east is a nameless drain entering the tahsil at Thathgarh, and leaving it at Naushehra Dhala. From Kasel southwards, it is now aligned in an artificial channel notified in 1930, as the Kasel-Padhana Drain, which ultimately as the Deo-Padhana Drain joins the Hudiara Drain at Deo. This connected series of drains serve its purpose sufficiently well and would be even more efficient but for the local practice of putting obstructions in the channels to secure irrigation when any other source of water is not available. The utility of the Kasel-Padhana Drain would be increased by the side-drains from Leian and Gehri. To the east of the Main Branch Lower comes the drainage known as the Mandiala Rohi or the Sultanwind Drain. Satisfactory drainage of its basin would involve considerable expenditure, but a good deal has been done by relatively cheap projects to remedy the more obvious faults. Still farther east come the Kasur nala and the Patti Rohi. The former flows at places in a well-defined channel, and elsewhere it is scarcely noticeable owing to cultivation in its bed, the soil of which is generally hard and clayey. The Patti Rohi is, for the greater part of its course, shallow and indistinct, with undulating sandy soil on its margins. Drainage does not do any great damage, and digging has not been necessary except in the estates of Chambal, Jatta and Jovinda Kalan, where an artificial channel carries the water.


            Ajnala Tahsil.-The surface drainage of the Ajnala Tahsil finds its natural outlet in the Sakki nala but is obstructed by the Lahore Branch of the Upper Bari Doab Canal and its subsidiary channels. Water in the confined area to the left of the Branch now finds its way by various routes into the Hudiara Drain. On the right bank of the canal, the Lashkri nangal-bagga Drain collects water from the area north of the Mananwala Distributary, siphons it under the distributary and carries it along to the Mahalanwala Pond (chhamb) whence the reinforced stream is carried under the arterial road past the Bagga to the Sakki Nala at Saurian. This drain does its work efficiently enough, provided it is regularly cleared and maintained.


            (iii) Underground Water Resources.-The entire area in the district is underlain by quaternary alluvium comprising fine to coarse sand, silt and clay, with intercalations of pebbles and kankar. Bore holes drilled down to a depth of about 100 metres have encountered 70-90 per cent of sand.


            Groundwater occurs both under confined and unconfined conditions. The depth of reach water in the area ranges from about 1 to 20 metres below the land surfaces. The water-table is generally deep towards the high banks of the Beas and the Satluj. However, in the vicinity of the canal-irrigated area and also in the floodplains of the Beas and the Satluj, the water-table is very shallow. In many parts of the canal-irrigated areas, waterlogged conditions prevail. Land salinization is also observed in areas affected with waterlogging.


            Groundwater is tapped by open wells, dug-cum-bore wells, and tubewells. Open wells yield small to moderate quantities of water. Shallow tube-wells constructed up to a depth of 35 metres yield 700 to 2000 litres of water per minute, depending on the capacity of the pumping-sets. Some of these tube-wells are of cavity type, whereas in others the indigenous strainer, which consist of iron or bamboo strips laid over the iron rings of 7-10 cm diameter and closely wrapped by ordinary coir rope, has been used. This type of construction is quite effective and economical. Deep tube-wells constructed up to depths of 65 to 105 metres below the land surface yield copious supplies of water. Some such tube-wells have been found to yield over 4000 litres of water per minute for drawdowns of less than 5 metres. A pump test conducted on a 86.86-metre-deep tube-well at Dera Radhasoami, Beas, indicated that the specific capacity of the tube-well was 757 litres of water per minute per metre. The transmissibility of the sand which forms the waterbearing zone is of the order of 1410 cubic metres per metre.


            The groundwater available in the greater part of the district is generally fresh but hard, except in the southern part of the district where it is of inferior quality, being saline to bitter.


            Hydrogeological studies carried out in the district in 1968 by the Geological Survey of India have indicated the possibilities of a large-scale development of groundwater through heavy-duty tube-wells in most parts of the district.



            (i) Geological Formation.-The whole of the Amritsar District is composed of the recent deposits known collectively as the Indo-Gangetic alluvium, which consists of the alluvial sand, clay and loam. Apart from the clay used for brick-making, the concretionary form of calcium carbonate, known as kankar, is found in beds generally at a slight depth below the surface at the upper margin of the impermeable subsoil, from where it is excavated to form material for road-making. The method of its formation is as follows :


            A portion of rather porous soil, consisting of a mixture of lime, sand and clay, is infiltrated with water retained in it by an impermeable bottom. The carbonate of lime is deposited throughout this porous mass, and cements its particles till it becomes of stony hardness. Its deposition no doubt takes place along the outer surface, as each former minute crystal deposited acts as a nucleus for further depositions. The formation is often seen in an incomplete state, nodules of soil having become only partially hardened. The process of essentially one of segregation from the soil itself. The essential condition of its existence is the presence of carbonate of lime or its ready production by ordinary decomposition in the soil. In soils and subsoils which supply little lime, there may be efflorescence without the formation of kankar, as in those consisting of clay and siliceous sand. On the other hand, in marly soils, in which there may be little or no production of alkaline salts, kankar may form without any efflorescence. In a district where stone road metal is not procurable, unless imported, the presence of this kankar beds are found in Ajnala on the left bank of the Sakki from Karyal downwards, and between Kaler and Vadala Bhittewad. Good kankar is also found to the right and left of the Grand Trunk Road near Jandiala Guru and at Varpal. In Tarn Taran, it occurs at Bala Chak and Godhlwar.


            Soils.-The soils of the Punjab plains belong to the typical alluvium of the Indo-Gangetic plains. The majority of the soils are loamy or sandy loam consisting of a soil crust of varying depth. Hardly any profile characteristics are observed; soluble salts are present in considerable amounts. The lower layer consists of kankar nodules. The soils have generally an alkaline reaction and are adequately supplied with phosphorus and potash, but are deficient in organic matter and nigtrogen.


            Geologically, the alluvium is divided into khaddar, i.e., the newer alluvium of sandy, generally light-coloured and of a less concretionary composition; and Bhangar, i.e., the older alluvium of a more clayey composition, generally of dark appearance and full of kankar. The soils differ in consistency from drift sand to loam and from fine silt to stiff clay. A few occasional pebble beds are also present. The formations and hard-pans at certain levels in the soil profile through the binding of soil grains by the infiltrating silica or calcareous matter, forming an impervious layer, is often observed in these alluvial soils. Layers of kankar in the Indo-Gangetic alluvium of the district are also observed.


            Saline and Alkaline Soils.-In the alluvial plains, without any underground drainage, the salts become concentrated. Capillary action during summer brings them to the surface where they form a white efflorescent crust called kallar.


            The reclamation of kallar is one of the major problems in the Punjab plains. The downward movement of salts is very much less than the upward movement, with the result that salts accumulate in high concentrations at or near the surface. These saline soils slowly deteriorate into alkali-rich soils. The sodium salts enter the clay complex and form sodium clay by the displacement of calcium. The only method of improving these soils is either by the addition of calcium salts or by making use of the reserve calcium already present in the soil. Recent studies have revealed that the kallar soils are both saline and sodic, having been developed in areas subject to flooding and impeded drainage. Calcium carbonate is usually present in the profiles as a hard calcium layer, and the water-table is within six feet (1.8 metres).


            Salpetre.-Amritsar is an important saltpeter-producing district of the Punjab, but the production has been on the decrease since the end of the Second World Ward (1939-45) owing to the lack of market in competition with the imported Chile saltpeter which costs less.


            (ii) Seismicity.-Seismically, Amritsar and its neighbourhood are situated in a region which is liable to slight to moderate damage due to earthquakes. Although no major epicentral tract has been located near Amritsar, a number of earthquakes originating in the Hindukush, the Himalayan boundary fault zone and the Karakoram regions are occasionally experienced at Amritsar with slight to moderate intensity.


            The records show that the maximum seismic intensity experienced at Amritsar was VII on the modified Mericalli scale-1931 during the Kangra earthquake of 4th April, 1905. Considering the location of Amritsar and its geological features, the maximum intensity VII M.M. is not likely to be exceeded.


            In order that civil engineering structures at Amritsar may not suffer damage or consequently result in the loss of life owing to earthquakes, the structures may be provided with the earthquake factor. For ordinary structures, the following factors have been recommended in the Indian Standards Institution Code, “Criteria for the Earthquake-Resistant Design of Structures”;


            Type of foundations                 hard                 medium                       soft


            Earthquake factor                    .04g                 .05g                            .06g


For important structures, the earthquake factor has to be suitably increased.


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