West Bengal happened to be a pioneer in the field of irrigation in India. The earliest one namely Midnapore Canal was taken up in 1866 and irrigation commenced in 1871. The canal originally was part of Orissa Canal Scheme. It was intended to have a high canal providing a navigational route between Cuttack and Calcutta. But the Midnapore canal at an early stage was separated and treated as a distinct project. The water supply is derived from the river Kangsabati at Mohanpur where there is a regulating weir with head works and the canal extends to Uluberia on the river Hooghly crossing the Rupnarayan and Damodar rivers en route. The total command area of the scheme is 49,879 ha.
The work of this canal was first taken up by East India Irrigation and Canal Company and by the Government two years later.