Delta in the Commodity-form

Rohan D’Souza

in Drowned and Dammed

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195682175
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082094 | DOI:
Delta in the Commodity-form

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This chapter provides a discussion on the commodification of the Orissa Delta. The Orissa Delta’s fluvial fury had worsted the colonial bureaucracy and brought much grief. In the aftermath of the damages the colonial government in the Orissa Delta decided to employ Colonel Arthur Cotton. It was hoped that his formidable reputation and experiences as a hydraulic engineer would deliver the administration. The Orissa Canal Scheme of 1863 addressed the problem of recurring inundation and drought. The impetus to this project was provided by private finance capital. The canal system was in several ways a desperate effort by the colonial administration to bail itself out of the hydraulic crisis while still retaining an overall momentum for capitalist consolidation. Flood-control as profitable venture instead of mere defensive strategy, nevertheless, failed. The Orissa Canal, in a short period, accumulated huge losses and its financial troubles raised a range of questions about the feasibility of controlling complex hydraulic processes through a market imperative.

Keywords: Orissa Delta; commodity-form; Colonel Arthur Cotton; Orissa Canal Scheme of 1863; colonial administration; hydrology

Chapter.  12822 words.  Illustrated.

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