Defending big dams, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has said large dams like Bhakra have played a key role in the socio-economic development of the country and the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan in particular. Bhakra and Pong dams have touched the lives of the people at a grassroots level, a BBMB press release said, adding the waters of Sutlej and Beas, which were causing devastating floods during monsoons and ultimately going waste in the Arabian Sea, became a boon for agriculture and industrial development by providing water and electricity to the region after the construction of Bhakra Dam and Pong Dam.
Availability of assured irrigation, adequate electricity and abundant foodgrains played a key role in poverty alleviation in the region.These dam projects are contributing more than `1 lakh crore to the national GDP through incremental agriculture and milk production. A study conducted by the World Bank and published in 2008 shows that without Bhakra Dam, the production of rice would have been about one half of what was being produced in 1979-80. The production of wheat would have been 54% and 65% of the currently produced quantity of wheat. The total value of these two major crops would have been 52% and 61% of the value currently obtainable.