Constraints in Implementation of PIM (Issues)
There may be a necessity and practicability in adoption of PIM yet there are a number of constraints in making the PIM sustainable in the long run. Some of these are:
a) Lack of legal back up and policy changes: In many States, there is no or very little legal back up and clearcut policy decision at the Government level to take up PIM, which is a big impediment in implementation of PIM. For the actual irrigation management transfer and operation of PIM in an irrigation project, policy changes and legal back up are essential. This is important for distributing required quantity of water at minor / distributary take off points, taking up correction of system deficiency, claim to get the maintenance funds proportionate to its portion transferred to associations, collection of water charges and retaining some portion of it for WUAs functioning, fixation of water rates, incentives to farmers, resolution of conflicts etc. Clarity on legislation is also required in certain States.
b) System deficiency: In older projects, there are many problems like deterioration of old control and measuring structures, leakages and seepage at various places, erosion of banks and beds, siltation and weed infestation. These are serious problems, hindering farmers to take over the system management on technical and financial considerations.
c) Uncertainty of water availability: This is another important aspect, as farmers will understandably be reluctant to take on the responsibility for managing the system unless deliveries of water are made reliable, flexible, practical transparent and responsive to need. The engineers on their part may not be confident about ensuring supply of the requisite quantity of water to the WUAs, as would be obligatory in terms of the MOU signed between Irrigation Agency and WUA. Further, the farmers who have their holdings at the head of the canal tend to appropriate
more water than required, whereas the farmers at the tail end often fail to get their apportioned share of water. Headenders, therefore, have vested interest in continuing the existing arrangements. The tailenders may not be keen to form WUAs as water supply in such areas remains inadequate and erratic and they remain apprehensive that the situation will not be materially altered if an association is formed. These differences in perceptions and conflicts of interests inhibit the coming together of head end and tail end farmers.
d) Fear of financial viability: Maintenance and operation of the system demands huge finances. Farmers have got the apprehension that in absence of surety of finance, it would be difficult for them to fulfill the requirement of funds for operation and maintenance. They feel that when Government is not able to handle the system with huge money available with them, how farmers would be able to do justice?
e) Lack of technical knowledge: Apart from the financial uncertainty, lack of technical input is one of the inhibiting factors to take over the system. When Government, having such qualified and senior Engineers, finds it difficult to manage the system, how untrained and uneducated farmers would be able to take up such a highly technical operation and maintenance work of big irrigation systems.
f) Lack of leadership: On account of limited exposure of the farmers to the rest of the world and PIM in particular, potent leadership is lacking, rather on account of limiting knowledge. At times so called local leaders give the negative or unclear version before other farmers which further create misunderstanding among the farmers bringing them sometimes into a fix.
g) Lack of publicity and training: Seeing is believing; and knowledge brings confidence in people. This aspect is lacking and there is a constraint to adoption of PIM.
h)Demographic diversity: Due to variation in economic, ethnic, education levels etc. diversity of farmers, PIM is taking much time in this country. To handle this aspect deep study, analysis and solution need be found out.
i) Mega irrigation projects: World scenario gives an indication that there are smaller projects in the countries of the world, where irrigation project transfer has taken care for PIM. In India, there are huge projects having very large distribution system and culturable command area sometimes more than 20 lakh hectares. Larger the project, complex would be its maintenance, operation and management aspects and so the formation and functioning of farmers associations for different necessary activities.
j) WUAs v/s Panchayats: In many of the areas, where WUAs have been formed, there is a clash of interest among Panchayats and WUAs on who is to own the system, particularly when watershed schemes are being handed over to the Panchayats.
k)PIM in efficient systems: Some of the northern States have raised apprehensions that when their systems are running very efficiently, why not PIM should form an integral part of the system of distribution already in operation.
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