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Management Of Tanks As A Component Of Water Infrastructure: A Case Of Semi-arid West Bengal

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Samrat Goswami (Agartala, India)


Keyword(s): Sub-theme 10: Management of water resources,
AbstractTanks have always been a vital source of water in rural India. Tanks are more prominent in South Indian states, but they are equally important in other parts of the country including eastern India. West Bengal also has many water storage structures but in terms of irrigation tanks appear well below other sources. The present paper is an effort to examine the management practice of village tanks in Purulia and Bankura districts, located at the western part of the state. The importance of tank rehabilitation has been studied through a benefit-cost analysis by Amarnath and Raja (2006) where they have shown that the total annual income from rehabilitated tanks are significantly higher than that of the non-rehabilitated tanks (2006). The detailed benefit-cost analysis of tank rejuvenation has been discussed in chapter VII of this work. Initially, Government programmes emphasized on the physical aspects of tank rejuvenation so that the tanks can be brought in shape and they can provide water in a sustained manner. The physical rehabilitation emphasized upon the repairing of different parts of the tanks, such as, tank bund, water inlet channel, water distribution channel and tank bed (Jana, et.al. 2012; Amarnath & Raja, 2006; von Oppen & Subba Rao, 1987; M von Oppen, 1980; Anbumozhi et. al., 2007). Through the government initiatives it has clearly been came out that desiltation has been considered as the most important part of physical tank rehabilitation as the silt that are removed can be used for increasing the fertility of the top soil that in turn would increase the productivity. Gireesh et. al. (1997) has captured the importance of this silt application in their study that they have conducted in eastern zone of Karnataka (Gireesh, Nagaraj, Chandrakanth; 1997). The physical rejuvenation has not become successful in many areas of the country, and it has been realized that only the physical improvement of the tank structure will not sufficiently enhance the tank performance. The management and maintenance of tanks should go hand-in-hand, and then only the tanks can be of real use to the rural society and can bring the much-needed development in the rural sector. The importance has been given to the institutional factors of tank rejuvenation, where the involvement of all stakeholders at different levels is being considered. Many studies pointed the socio-ecological issues of tank rejuvenation, as tanks, according to them are not only a source of irrigation, but also plays crucial role in rural society and for successful operation of tanks, the role of multi-stakeholder dialogue is important (Shah and Raju, 2000,2006; Sakthivadivel et. al., 2004; von Oppen & Subba Rao, 1987; Janakarajan, 2003). The importance of local institution through the identification of some of their distinct characteristics was studied by Sakthivadivel et. al. (2004) in their study they have conducted in the southern and eastern parts of India. The importance of farmer involvement and government commitment in tank rejuvenation and management in a balanced manner would increase properly the tank performance as mentioned by von Oppen and Subba Rao in their work (von Oppen & Subba Rao, 1987). The broad objective of the paper is to examine the tank maintenance and management practice prevailing in the area. The study has been conducted in 12 villages selected from 4 blocks of the two districts of Purulia and Bankura and altogether 300 sample households have been selected for the purpose of study. Maintenance and management related issues have been dealt with standard tabular analysis and also with the help of a Logit model. The type of participation in tank's physical maintenance has been analysed with chi-square test, separately for each of the physical tank components. The maintenance of tanks are performed through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the study shows that tank users generally offer assistance only for those tanks which are in good or moderate condition. The model shows that family income is having positive impact so as the willingness to participate in tank management activity and both of them are significant. But at the same time, number of supplemental wells is also having positive impact on effective participation. This may be due to the fact that people knows that if tank are in good condition then only it can retain water and can recharge groundwater so that the wells in the command area are in a position to provide supplemental water, at least for household activities. Differing from other studies, the number of adult family members showing negative impact on effective tank rejuvenation however, the result is not significant. This implies that family size consisting adult members only is not decisive factor for effective tank rejuvenation. The paper has been divided in five different sections. After the introductory section, the second section deals with the review of literature and the next one portrays the methodology part. Section four analyses the primary data and the last section is the conclusion section. 1. 3. Amarnath, J.S. & Karthik Raja P. (2006). An Economic Analysis of Tank Rehabilitation in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu. Agricultural Economics Research Review, Vol-19, January-June 2006, 187-194. 2. 31. Gireesh, M., Nagaraj N. & Chandrakanth M.G. (1997). Rehabilitation of Irrigation Tanks in Eastern Zone of Karnataka – An Economic Analysis. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol-52, No-2, April-June 1997. 3. 37. Janakarajan, S. (2003). Need to Modernize the Tradition: Changing Role of Tanks in Response to Scarcity and Variability. Paper presented at the Conference on Market Development of Water and Waste Technologies through Environmental Economics, 30th , 31st October 2003, New Delhi. 4. 84. Sakthivadivel R., Gomathinayagam P. & Shah T. (2004). Rejuvenating Irrigation Tanks through Local Institutions. Economic and Political Weekly, July 31, 2004, 3521 – 3526.
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