After the great famine in Odisha in 1865, the British government set out to connect Cuttack to different parts of Odisha by roads and canals. In 1882 East India Irrigation Company started the canal works and during this time an anicut (6349 ft long) was constructed across the Mahanadi near Jobra in Cuttack to feed river water to the Taldanda canal and its branch, the Machhagaon canal. A mechanical workshop was established at Jobra to produce and repair various machine parts connected with canal works. The Jobra khunti (pillar) was built near the workshop as a historic monument. It also served as a lighthouse to boats and cargo vessels passing through different canals.
Sri John Beams mentions in his memoirs that the management of the Jobra workshop by George Faulkur was a memorable one. George Faulkur lived in India for a period of forty years and was primarily responsible for growth by canal system in Odisha. He was a mechanical engineer from Manchester.