There are large numbers of seasonal hill torrents which leave the Siwalik Range and enter the level plain. These torrents are swollen with water soon after heavy showers in the neighbouring hills and carry with them a heavy load of coarse sand and silt. They are furious when rushing to the plains. They are called ‘chos’ in the plain where their beds are broad, braided, shallow and sandy. They are quite numerous and in some places every kilometre has a ‘chos’.
The ‘chos’ have laid waste large area of the fertile plain. Land is rendered sterile by the triple action of ‘chos’, that is by:
(i) The lateral corrosion near the hills,
(ii) The waywardness of the ‘chos’ in the plain spreading loose sand over large area, and
(iii) The winds which carry sand to far off places.
The Hoshiarpur district of Punjab is worst affected by chos.
An area with sub-soil water level within 1.52 metres below the surface is called water-logged area. As nearly one-third of the water which flows in the unlined canals of western Yamuna the Sirhind and upper Baridoab seep into the sub-soil, water-table has been rising near such canals though imperceptibly since long. Unusually heavy rainfall have further aggravated the water logging problem.
In some location menace of waterlogging is accompanied with the formation of alkali soil or ‘thur’ at the surface. In this region of deficient rainfall, there is excessive evaporation of water from the soil. The rising sub-soil water brings up the salts which are left behind after the water has evaporated.
This region is agriculturally ahead of other region of India due to alluvial plain and irrigation facilities. The Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has done excellent work in propagating the cultivation of high -yielding varieties of crops and disseminating improved methods of cultivation among the farmers.
Almost 82 percent of the total area of this region is under cultivation. This high percentage of the net area sown to the total area of this region is not there in the other regions of India. The factors like mildly cool winters and hot summers enable this fertile plain to grow a variety of crops. Wheat, rice, gram, bajra, cotton, sugarcane and oilseeds are the main crops.
Irrigation from canals or wells is available with the result that Rabi crops are more important than the Kharif crops. Failure of crops is rare in the districts running along the Siwalik Range and receiving rainfall more than 65 cm. a year. Intensive cultivation is practised. High yields are obtained by sowing high- yielding varieties of crops and using fertilizers and water.
In the Punjab, wheat is the leading crop of Rabi season and rice that of Kharif season. In the Rabi season wheat appears almost everywhere. It occupies 86 percent of the total area under crops in this season. In the old canal-irrigated areas, waterlogging near some high-level canals is common. Only rice grows in water logged area.
This is the main crop of this region. More than one-third of the total cultivated area of this region is devoted to this crop. It is cultivated mainly in the irrigated areas. The Punjab and the eastern districts of Haryana State are important producers of wheat. It is the leading crop of the Punjab occupying about 45 percent of cropped area and of Haryana which has 35 percent area is under it.
It is generally sown during November and harvested during April. Relatively long growing period (about 51/2 months) for wheat in this region is one of the important factors contributing to the increase in per hectare yield of this food grain. The productivity of which was 2602 kg. /hectare in 2004-05 has increased to 3057 kg/hectare in 2011-12.
Area under gram keeps on varying in this region. Gram is raised mainly in the semi-arid south western part of this region. A few showers during winter are enough for the successful growth ol gram. It is, therefore, the chief Rabi crop in the unirrigated areas. Hissar and Sirsa districts (Haryana) are important producers of gram and account for nearly 40% of the total gram produced in Haryana.
Three-fourths of the total area under cotton lies in the relatively dry but canal-irrigated districts of Ferozepore, Faridkot, Bhatinda, Sangrur, Sirsa, Hissar and Jind. Area under cotton has trebled since 1970-71. Since it is mainly an irrigated crop, yield per unit area is high and is highest in Punjab.
Hissar and Sirsa districts are the principal cotton producing areas in Haryana. Faridkot district is the leading producer of cotton in the Punjab of this region.
Rice is the most important crop of this region of Kharif season. More than half of the area cultivated during the season, is under paddy. An assured irrigation by tube-wells and canals and a good demand for this cereal, have established paddy as an important crop in the Punjab.
Cattle and Dairying:
Haryana is known for breed of bulls and Murrah breed of buffaloes which are famous animals of semi-arid south-western districts. Cattle and buffalo breeding is a subsidiary occupation of some farmers. Since buffaloes of Murrah breed yield relatively large quantity of rich milk, they are sold to dairies located at far off towns namely Mumbai, Kolkata and Nagpur. Bulls of Haryana breed are also purchased by the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh.
Power and Irrigation:
There is no coal and petroleum so hydel power has been developed by taking advantage of favourable condition.
(i) The Uri River Scheme:
It was commissioned in 1933. A storage dam has been constructed across the Uri (a tributary of the Beas) at Brot in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. The power house is situated at Jogindernagar 1250 metres above sea-level. Early establishment of industry at Ludhiana, Amritsar and other towns in the north, is due mainly to the availability of power from this scheme.
(ii) The Bhakra Nangal Project:
To supply electricity to the power hungry north-western India and to extend irrigation in north-western Haryana and the south-western Punjab, Bhakra Nangal Project, a multi-purpose scheme of gigantic dimensions was commissioned in this region in 1948. A 226-metre high and 518 metre long straight gravity concrete dam has been constructed at a site.
Here the Sutlej before debauching into the Punjab Plain, comes out of a gorge cut by this river through a hill range called the Naina Devi Dhar. It is named Bhakra Dam after the name of the village Bhakra. The reservoir of water behind this dam is 88 km. long with 9,128 million cubic metres storage capacity. 29-metre high Nangal Dam has been constructed 13 km. downstream from the Bhakra Dam.
The Nangal Dam diverts the river water to the Bhakra Irrigation Canals and also turns the turbines of the power houses at Ganguwal and Kotla situated at the nineteenth km. and twenty-ninth km. respectively from the Nangal Dam.
The project irrigates 1456,000 hectares and also provides perennial or increased supply of water to 1497,000 hectares already under non perennial irrigation,
(iii) The Beas Project:
It is a multi-purpose project. It consists of two major units (a) the Beas-Sutlej Link and (b) the Beas Dam at Pong. Both the units are located in Himachal Pradesh.
(a) The Beas-Sutlej Link:
The Beas cuts a deep gorge through the Dhaoladhar Range at Larji. Below Larji the valley of the Beas is narrow and deep and at a higher level than that of the Sutlej. Its stretch between Larji and Mandi is quite close to the Sutlej. In view of these geographical advantages the Beas has been linked with the Sutlej.
(b) The Beas Dam:
Below Pandoh, the Beas continues flowing through a deep and narrow valley until it enters the plains and broadens its course a few km. below the village Pong.
This dam has been constructed across the Beas near Pong which is about 130 km. downstream from Pandoh.
There are small scale industries such as the manufacture of woollen fabrics, bicycles, fertilizers, engineering goods, paper, sugar and cotton textiles.
Many industries are located on the main railways connecting Jagadhri with Amritsar and Ballabgarh with Ambala. Ballabgarh, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Sonepat, and Bahadurgarh have emerged as new industrial centres around Delhi.
Hosiery Industry is centred at Ludhiana which is the chief centre of woollen hosiery goods in India. It produces almost four-fifths of the total Indian woollen hosiery goods.
Sports Goods Industry is centred at Basti Nau, a suburb of Julluadur (Jalandhar) City. These are also made at Batala and Amritsar. One-third of the sports goods are exported to other countries. The chief raw materials used by the industry are mulberry wood, willow, cane, leather and glue from this region.
Light Engineering Industries:
These industries are widely spread in this region. For example, scientific instruments are manufactured at Ambala, bicycle parts at Ludhiana and Malerkotla, agricultural implements at Batala, Barnala, Moga and Kotkapura, brass, copper and white metal utensils at Jagadhari and Amritsar, bolts, nuts, and screws at Amritsar and sewing machine parts at Bassi and Ludhiana. Jagadhari has become the hub of brass metalware industry of this region.
The weaving of cotton and art silk fabrics are done with handloom and small scale powerloom. Textile industry is the leading industry of this region with Amritsar as the main manufacturing centre. Amritsar ranks next to Mumbai in the production of art silk fabrics.
Sonepat, Rajpura and Ludhiana, each has a large modern bicycle factory which produces more than 40 percent of the total bicycles produced in India.
The areas which receive more rainfall and where facilities of irrigation are available are more densely peopled. The northern and eastern districts are wetter and richer in sweet and potable underground water than the semi-arid south-western districts, they, therefore, attracted more people to settle there in the past.
As a whole the region is thickly populated. Delhi, the metropolitan city lies in this region. Besides it, Amritsar, Jullandhar, Ludhiana, Jagadhari-Yamunanagar, Chandigarh are important industrial town and cities of this region.