NGO Study Points Out Flaws In Irrigation Projects

Ahmedabad, April 26 | Updated: Apr 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
A study conducted on dams and major irrigation projects across the country has indicated that percentage of deprivation (of water) among locals living in surrounding areas is much more alarming than what has been perceived.

The findings of the study, conducted by a city-based non-government organisation (NGO) Development Support Centre (DSC) and supported by the Planning Commission, were made public here on Monday when the issue of tail enders being the most deprived lot in all projects was the point of focus.

Citing examples of major irrigation projects in Gujarat, chairman of the NGO gave the instance of Dharoi project with 45,000 hectares of command area where it was found that 37 per cent of the beneficiaries, who were actually located in the tail end of the command area and 27 per cent who were not tail enders were deprived of irrigation water even when there was sufficient water in the dam.

The Dharoi project cost Rs 110 crore and benefited approximately 40,000 farmers.

In its study, DSC also claims that in Mahi irrigation project, the average deprivation was 7 per cent among tail enders and around 20 per cent in the middle, even as the project won awards for other reasons.

According to economist YK Alagh, who has been a key figure in the Sardar Sarovar project also, the study was important as it had also brou-ght out issues like the quality of dam construction apart from the issue of tail enders.

He said that what was equally important was conviction of farmer community across the state to co-operate with projects and erase age-old beliefs of quantity of water required for irrigation.