Open main menu

Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/68

This page needs to be proofread.
48
[ch.
RIVERS

before they can get across. If, as in Hoshyarpur, the chos flow into a rich plain from hills composed of friable sandstone and largely denuded of tree-growth, they are in their second stage most destructive. After long delay an Act was passed in 1900, which gives the government large powers for the protection of trees in the Siwaliks and the reclamation of torrent beds in the plains. The process of recovery cannot be rapid, but a measure of success has already been attained. It must not be supposed that the action of chos in this second stage is uniformly bad. Some carry silt as well as sand, and the very light loam which the great Markanda cho has spread over the country on its banks is worth much more to the farmer than the stiff clay it has overlaid. Many chos do not pass into the third stage, when all the sand has been dropped, and the bed shrinks into a narrow ditch-like channel with steep clay banks. The inundations of torrents like the Degh and the Ghagar after this stage is reached convert the soil into a stiff impervious clay, where flood-water will lie for weeks without being absorbed into the soil. In Karnal the wretched and fever-stricken tract between the Ghagar and the Sarusti known as the Naili is of this character.

The Jamna.— The Jamna is the Yamuna of Sanskrit writers. Ptolemy's and Pliny's versions, Diamouna and Jomanes, do not deviate much from the original. It rises in the Kumaon Himalaya, and, where it first meets the frontier of the Simla Hill States, receives from the north a large tributary called the Tons. Henceforth, speaking broadly, the Jamna is the boundary of the Panjab and the United Provinces. On the Panjab bank are from north to south the Sirmur State, Ambala, Karnal, Rohtak, Delhi, and Gurgaon. The river leaves the Panjab where Gurgaon and the district of Mathra, which belongs to the United Provinces, meet, and finally