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Sustainable Small Scale Irrigation Experiment in the Dry Zones: A Case Study on Happa ( Small Tank) Model in the State of West Bengal, India.

Jana, Sebak Kumar (2011): Sustainable Small Scale Irrigation Experiment in the Dry Zones: A Case Study on Happa ( Small Tank) Model in the State of West Bengal, India.

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Indian economy is still an agrarian economy more than 50% of people in India are still dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Rainfed areas without any source of irrigation in the country still accounts for 60% of the cultivated area and these areas are home to majority of rural poor and marginal farmers. Food security of small and marginal farmers in these regions are greatly jeopardized by the lack of assured irrigation. In this backdrop, there is an urgent need to explore the possibilities of sustainable and innovative forms of irrigation. One such innovative experiment is happa experiment which is viewed as Integrated Natural Resource Management( INRM) emphasizing both water and soil management. A happa is a mud-excavated small water harvesting structure with the average size of 50ft× 45ft×12 ft. The programme is going on in some dry zones where the happa is being excavated in the private land of the farmer wherefrom the farmer can irrigate his own agricultural land with average command area of happa being 0.6 – 0.75 acres. The construction cost one happa is being funded from NREGS scheme, the flagship programme of Government of India for employment generation. After the construction of happa, it is managed by the farmer himself and all the operational expenditure is being incurred by the farmer for mainataining these. This model has got success in some dry zones. We have selected a village for our primary survey of households in the Bankura district which is located dry zone of West Bengal. There is specific geographical concentration of backwardness and poverty in these areas and these regions are affected by continuous degradation of natural resources. The main objectives of the study are as follows: (1) To judge the economic viability of the project using standard cost benefit analysis tools like NPV, BCR and IRR. (ii) Assessment of ecological and social impacts of the project, (iii) Identifying of different kinds of benefits accrued from the project, (iv) scope of upscaling of the project with the identification of problem areas in upscaling Our analysis reveals that the small irrigation program like happa has made a strong impact on the livelihood of rural people. The environmental impacts include soil and moisture conservation of the watershed area. The economic benefits include incremental production from paddy production and vegetable production through irrigation. The success and upscaling of the programme depends very much on the system of planning, application, execution, monitoring and fund-flow.

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