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  • 1. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkotta A Case study of village BhitarkottaRelevance of Stream Irrigation in Koraput:The project villages selected for the diversion based project are situated in the upper catchment of UpperKolab Reservoir. The villages are located in remote pockets, settled at the foot hills.Agriculture and wage earning are the major sources of income for the inhabitants of the village Bhitarkotta.The area is well known as a vegetable growing area and the area feeds sizably to the well known vegetablemandi at Kunduli. Agriculture in the villages is mainly rainfed and hence Kharif is the main agriculture seasonfor the communities. Low lands and lands along the natural drainage are very scanty. Hence very few patchesof land get irrigation facilities through convenient field channels created by the land owners. Perennialstreams happen to be the main source of irrigation. There are hardly any farm ponds or other irrigationfacilities available to help agriculture beyond the Kharif season. There is no electrification in the agriculturalfields for operating the electric pumps for the irrigation purposes, thus the diversion based irrigation throughgravity flow stands as a viable option in providing the irrigation facilities to the uplands of the project villages.Most of the streams where the structures are proposed are perennial and hence they would provideprotective irrigation to Kharif crops and irrigation to Rabi crops. The said block is running below 35%irrigation facilities. Hence most of the lands are cropped once in a year except the lands aided by irrigationfrom perennial streams. The poverty of the communities is thus very much linked to low productivity fromagriculture and fallowing of lands in absence of irrigation facilities. In the Rabi season only certain cash cropslike Niger and Mustard is taken up by the communities that do not contribute much to their subsistenceeconomy. To cope up with the situation people continue to do slash and burn agriculture on the hill slopeseven though it gives a low return.The diversion based irrigation in this context suits to the terrain, topography, local needs for irrigation atleast to make the fallow lands productive. In other words it is a viable option to convert C1 lands to C2 landsso as to boost the household economy by a standard margin. There is ecological relevance too. Due towanton destruction of natural forests for agriculture on hill slopes the catchments have degraded. It has itstypical impact on the perennial hill streams. Local people observe decrease in flow due to degradation on thecatchments and erosion of stream banks with wide gullies. With impact on lands due to irrigation it isexpected that the slash and burn agriculture would become a lesser priority and that would help protectionof catchments. Hence the irrigation intervention has the potential to contribute to economy and ecologysimultaneously.The Larger Context:In this context of unavoidable depletion of forest and other commons to meet the household needs suchirrigation intervention can be considered instrumental in reducing the pressure from these commons by Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 2. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkottaconverting the fallow land into cultivable land and by enhancing the scope for double crop thereby boostingthe household economy and engaging the manpower in the downstream land. With lands becoming irrigatedpeople concentrate the family labour force on round the year cultivation and incidences of podu woulddecrease. This would create scope for permanent vegetation on the slopes aiding catchments protectionand/or create scope for agro-horti-silviculture.In terms of efficiency the project proved to be ideal in minimizing the conveying water loss, increase incultivable land, increase in water discharge period and quantity and increase in rotation period of irrigationthere by impact the agriculture productivity of the villages positively. It has significance in terms of providingfood security to the beneficiaries and would encourage other livelihood options in the community and set inplace sustainable agriculture practices.The project is innovative and new to the area. Hence, the project sites have become exposure sites forgovernment officers and technical people employed at block and line departments. The team made all effortto demonstrate this desired practice to all the stakeholders who possibly can replicate the interventionelsewhere in such a similar setting.With this understanding the team implemented the project in five sites such as Bisramjhola of UparBarabandh village under Kotiy GP; Pordamali of Kasuguda village and Shigrijhola of Bhitarkota village underSorispadar GP, Ghodagandi and Jholaguda of Upar Kanti village under Upar Kanti GP. While Kotia GP comesunder Pottangi block, Sorispadar and Upar Kanti GPs come under Semiliguda block of Koraput district.The case study on Bhitarkotta village presented below attests the discussion cited above.Bhitarkotta at a GlanceThe village Bhitarkotta is a revenue village of Sorispadar panchayat of Semiliguda block and is about 8 Kmsaway from the Kunduli market square, enroute Koraput- Vizianagaram (NH-43). It is about 20 Kms and 42Kms away from the Block headquarter and districts headquarter respectively. It is at the foothills of Deomalihill range and is accessible in all seasons except rainy season. During the rainy season the nala enroute thevillage enhance its base flow makes the communication through vehicle impossible.The village accommodates 95 households (ST-90, SC-5) of which the Desia Kondh (ST) are the dominant groupcovering 90 HHs and the remaining 5 HHs belong to the SC category. The habitant speaks Kuvi and interactswith the outsiders in Desia language. The total revenue area of the village is 758.26 Acres (see details in thebox ). 12 households in the village are landless. Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 3. A Case Study of Villlage BhitarkottaTable 1: Land Types Under various social security schemes ofLand Type Area in Acre government the households enlisted are asAbada Yogya Anabadi (Patra Jungle, 34.81 follows: BPL-45 HHs, APL-6 HHs, Antodaya-20Patita, Ambatota)Abada Ayogya Anabadi: (Nala, 660.4 HHS, Widow Pension beneficiaries-14 and oldPatharbani, Dhoda, Jhola, Pahad, Kupuli) age pension beneficiaries-28. 70 HHs have jobRakhita: (Gramya jungle, Gochar, Basti) 58.41 cards and passbook to avail work underSarbasadharan 4.64 MGNREGS.Total 758.26 Agriculture is the primary occupation of thevillage supplemented with wage earning and animal husbandry. 70 % of the total agricultural lands areunirrgated hence compels the villagers to take up Podu (slash and burn) on hill slopes as an option to add tothe household requirement.With the reduction in podu cycle due to marginal land holding and land fragmentation, increasing use ofuplands and absence of vegetation on the hill slopes the top soil gets exposed to erosion by heavy runoffduring the mansoon leading to low percolation thereby affecting the recharge potential of soil. Tala zamee tina huye, podu na kale kenti heba, khaibu kana. The low lands are not sufficient, we have to go for Podu orelse what would we eat?- opined Sabba Khora, a villager who takes up podu regularly. When asked why thelow lands are not enough he replied-barsha pare pani na pahunce, water don’t reach here after mansoon.Further heavy runoff causes widening of stream bank and decline in the base flow of the stream. Thecumulative of these causes decline in land productivity, increase in fallow land shortage of water forirrigation thereby impacting the agriculture productivity. Also there were other needs of the village inrelation to CPRs like grazing land and fuel wood which the villagers are unable to conserve due tocontinuation of land use. The women folk had to walk more than 4 Kms to collect twigs for fuel woodpurpose.The issues mentioned above set precedence for such kind of work, best suited to the ecological andeconomic needs of the community. Initially when the team approached the community with conservationagenda the community could not respond to it though they realized the ecological crisis. Land forregeneration without affecting household economy appeared impossible to the community. Theyapprehended one interest must be sacrificed for the other. Then the team facilitated the discussion andopened up possibilities through irrigation work that can address both the needs of the community. Thediscussion settled with a convincing agreement, that lands on the upper slopes to be left for regeneration Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 4. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkottaand the fallow land to be made irrigated though pipes. Further Institutional arrangement to be developed inwhich the landowners would share part of their land that goes fallowed to the landless so as to compensatethe economic loss they bear in giving up Podu- the community expressed.StrategyDuring the initial phase of intervention FES supported the village in constructing a diversion weir to chanelisethe stream water into the crop fields. The structure helped some 5 households to irrigate their crop fields ofabout 5 Acres though conveying loss was there. During its construction the villagers urged for some otheralternatives so as to minimize the conveyance loss. With this seed money of CONCERN world wide the ideato ground irrigation project in the project villages of koraput the team considered their earlier proposal. Theteam of engineers visited the site and found the stream to be capable enough to address the irrigation needof the entire downstream area of 30.15 acres covering 25 households. Design of the work has beendeveloped by the technical people with the help of the community members and the community wasappraised about the same. Further the community articulated that they would support this project and iseager to work with FES. The team asked them to demonstrate their willingness in some form either money orlabour. This has led further discussion among the villagers on how to ensure community participation as allthe households do not have land on the command area. Finally the community agreed on giving free labourfor a day as the VI is taking the responsibility of benefiting all through the project. The team made all effort tocreate technical man power in the village so that future maintenance of the work can be ensured. Thus apara-worker along with 3-4 interested people from the village was given skill based training in relation to thiswork. They were given an on field practice during the construction, marking of pipe line and pipe fitting work.The technical people from block and other line department were made exposed to the site so that theintervention can be replicated through the government schemes and programmes. Finally a sump with a silttrap was constructed from where PVC pipe (110 mm diameter) of 800mt length was laid under 1 mt deep Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 5. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkottasoil. The pipe is given vent at 10 outlets at strategic point (as shown above) to irrigate the down-stream area.The outlets are covered with a cap screwed tightly and the village institution takes the responsibility of waterdistribution through rule system.The Realized ImpactTable 2: Impact of the intervention Crops Before Intervention After InterventionIs gaon me log bhuke nahi marna chahiye yaphir kisiko bhi bahar jake kam nahi karna Area in Ac. Yield in qntl. Area in Ac. Yield inchahiye. Nobody should starve in this village nor qntl.needs anyone to migrate- as opined by theveteran social worker Mr. Deep Joshi. He Paddy 8 120 16 220attested the work that has created immense Millet 7 70 2.3 23irrigation potential and praised the collectiveeffort. Ginger 3 180 9 540 Cabbage 0 0 0.3 35 Maize 1 60 1.3 78  The areas under paddy cultivation have Chilli 0.5 6 0.55 6.5 been increased almost double and even Beans 0 0 0.05 1.5 yield correspondingly due to the irrigation intervention. The net Total 19.5 436 29.5 904 cropping area for paddy was 8 Ac before intervention whereas after intervention double cropping scope emerged as a result of which the gross cropping area for paddy has become 16 Ac. So largely it provides the food security to the farmers.  Millet cultivation declined to less than half than the previous years due to increase demand of the cash crops like Ginger, Cabbage etc. Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 6. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkotta  Ginger is considered as the best cash crop, which occupies major portion of land second to paddy due to its high market demand and value. The area under cultivation increases around three times and yields to the corresponding rate i.e. three times.  Likewise Ginger, Cabbage also been introduced as a viable cash crop and about 0.3 Ac land brought under cabbage cultivation that yielded 35 Quintals.The intervention offered scope for converting C1 land into C2 type as a result of which in about 8 Acres ofland paddy has been cultivated twice last year yielding 220 quintals against the previous year’s harvest of 120quintal. Similarly looking at the irrigation assurance round the year ginger cultivation has been taken up in 9acres of area last year against its previous year 3 acres resulting into 3 times in production i.e to 540 qtls from180 qtls. Cabbage opted as a viable option for cultivation considering the market demand in Kundulivegetable mandi. Other cash crops like chilli, maize, brinjal, beans etc have been tried but in a lower scale.This intervention has triggered vegetable cropping in the village.Figure 1: Impact of DBI Change in Area (in Acre) Change in Yield (in quintals) Before After Before After 540 16 9 8 7 220 180 120 70 23 2.3 3 Paddy Millet Ginger Paddy Millet Ginger Table 3: Change in Income Income 23 farmers have introduced ginger as a diversification option Income Before After (in looking at the assured irrigation facility covering a total area of 9Crops (in lakhs) lakhs) acres where as Paddy has been intensified from single crop to double crop and about 8 acres of land cultivated twice underPaddy 0.96 1.76 paddy. Ginger is always cultivated in a mixed cropping way thatMillet 0.56 0.184 includes maize, Lady’s finger and tubers. Hence this can be said that assured irrigation encouraged diversified cropping optionGinger 9.9 29.7 having a major thrust on Ginger and intensified the paddy crop in terms of opening up second paddy crop option. (Increase in grossCabbage 0 0.175 cropping area). This increase in yield and more area under double crop has augmented the village income by 20.49 lakhsMaize 0.3 0.39 Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 7. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkottawhich is 1.75 times of the previous year income of the farmers.Pani payi ithara zamee ru tike bhala adaya hela. Ada aru Kobi ru labha hela. With provisioning of water thistime we earned good, especially from Ginger and cauliflower- expressed Mr. Biswanath (a villager).Table 4: BeneficiaryTotal Area under the Command (in Ac) 25.65 It has been witnessed this year that only 2.7 acres of land went fallowed. This amount of land could not beNumber of land owner 25 cultivated as they need some degree of leveling which will be grounded from MGNREGS like programme- asArea cultivated by land owner (in Ac) 14.3 the villagers expressed. Looking at the assured irrigation scope in patches where the landownersNumber of Share croppers 26 could not cultivate the Village Institution tookArea cultivated by share croppers (in Ac) 8.65 proactive action to distribute it to somebody else so that production would be maximized and pressurefrom CPRs would be reduced. 26 such cases have been observed. Though irrigation intervention is beneficialto the land holder yet the village institutions take all measures to distribute the benefit across the village as aresult of which 26 poor people have been given lands to take up agriculture and can add to their familyincome. The negotiation point was the stream which belongs to the community and not to the land holdersonly. This has been actualized through proper rule system.With the water provisioning the catchment protection agenda triggered in the village and the villagers askedFES to help them in regenerating the catchment. Thus last year seeding of different wild endemic species hadbeen done in the entire catchment and the Village Institution declared the patch as Grazing free zone. Theyalso put regulation on fuel wood collection from that area.In the aspect of promoting ecological agriculture the project had helped them in promoting vermicompostand apiculture. Four vermicompost pits with two segments each have been constructed in different cornersof the village and the VI evolved rule system around it. The Village Institution divided the responsibility of thepits among the villagers and rule system around its maintenance Figure 2: Vermicompost Pithas been evolved. A committee of four members was formed to monitor theregular supply of cow dung into the pits. A small session onmaintenance of the Pits was conducted with the communityand they are following the same. All the pits are in goodcondition and the community is using the vermicompost in theircrop fields. The ownership of the compost lies with the VillageInstitution and it sells compost to the villagers at a very fairprice of Rs.2 to Rs.3 per kg. It has been reported that the compost is yielding good results. With an intensionto promote ecological agriculture and providing additional income option for the poor apiculture promotion Foundation for Ecological Security
  • 8. A Case Study of Villlage Bhitarkottahas been encouraged. The village Institution identified the real beneficiary and supplied them with the honeybee Kits.Problems Encountered and LearningsThis is an intervention that directly addresses the irrigation need of a village and can contribute to theincome of households having land in the command area. As we witnessed in the village out of 95 HHs only 24HHs i.e. 25% of the total have lands in the command area. Thus ensuring equity is a challenge. Though thevillage institution took all effort to make the benefit reaches out to the entire village but possible options arelimited that cannot caters to the need of all. Share cropping was found possible in 26 instances. Somevillagers considered working in some others field and leaving their own encroached land will not give themownership over the land. Some are convinced some are not with the idea of conservation of the catchment atthe cost of Podu. Providing option is as important as providing ownership over the option. With increasedproduction due to assured irrigation a cropping plan need to be developed so as to regulate variety ofproduction and help them to enter into a fair bargain rather than selling their produce in throw away price.This can be the ideal mode to chanelise the stream water into the crop fields with the help of gradient inplaces where pumping out water through mechanical devices found inconvenient and costly.ConclusionThough this is found to be effective means for irrigation yet there is a greater need in the scheme toincorporate the aspirations of the village community at large, in a possible scale without confining the inputsto direct beneficiaries only. The schemes can cater to various water need of the village starting fromirrigation to drinking water need thus can be instrumental in intervening into a village. The institution mustbe involved in all spheres of activities so that the resource sharing can have equity concerns or else thebenefit would be polarized towards the landowners only. The work need to be placed at different platform sothat it can be paid attention to and replicated in similar places. Foundation for Ecological Security