ADB-CIDP supported PIM program including Water User Association Strengthening
The overall goal of Chhattisgarh Irrigation Development Project (CIDP) was to improve rural livelihood and reduce rural poverty through improved irrigation service delivery, enhanced agricultural practices, and strengthened water resources management to increase the productivity of irrigated agriculture in the State. The main components of the project were: Strengthening water Resources Department; Participatory Irrigation Management; Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Irrigation Systems, and Agricultural Support Services for approximately 155 minor schemes and 20 medium schemes, covering a total of about 200,000 ha. CIDP was implemented by the Chhattisgarh Water Resources Department, WRD. A Project Management Unit, PMU, was established in WRD at Raipur to assume overall responsibility for management of all project activities including the NGO activity. NGOs’ basic responsibility was to provide a variety of staff, ranging from Community Organizers to Specialists (in PIM and Agriculture including Command Area Development, CAD, On-Farm-Water management, OFWM and Agricultural Marketing) to work under the direct technical guidance and management of Technical Assistance (TA) Consultants of CIDP. During the process, WUAs will be empowered and developed as “Self-sustained entities” and WRD capacity will be enhanced. When this is internalized, NGO staff TA inputs would be withdrawn.
The project started during 2009 with ASA (Action for Social Advancement), an MP based NGO providing all the services of Package A and B (as defined under the contract). Unfortunately the association did not last long and the NGO services were re-advertised. The NGO services were now divided into two separate contracts because it was understood that NGOs do not have adequate expertise and experience in all the components and because certain NGOs are specialized in one or more of these components. However, unfortunately the main aspect of bringing a practical harmony between the complex working ethos of the government and the Non-government sector was missed in the design of the contract. The new Contract was made on the 15th March of 2010 between Chhattisgarh Irrigation Development Project, Project Management Unit (PMU and Centre for Advanced Research and Development (CARD),as Consultant for INR 112.986 Million (One Hundred Twelve Million Nine Hundred Eighty Six Thousand Indian Rupees). CARD faced a tough situation initially wherein working was practically impossible and hence decided to withdraw but later on decided to continue providing its services on NO SERVICE CHARGE basis in the larger interest of the project.
The annual target of CARD- Package-A NGO in WUAs capacity strengthening about PIM act in whole Chhattisgarh state (CARD) component wise was- 2 Capacity Building sessions to each Group of farmer/ WUA Participants in 25 irrigation system under IIP of component-I(110-115 WUAs); 5 Capacity Building sessions to each Group of farmer / WUA Participants in 20 irrigation system under component 2 (about 90-100 WUAs) and 1 Capacity Building sessions to each Group of farmer / WUA Participants in 250 irrigation systems under component-1(about 1150 WUAs). The status of WUAs regarding the understanding of PIM was not much. The WUAs in most of the irrigation systems in India are formed in an informal manner without much emphasis on real empowerment and sustainability. The objective has always been to distribute the maintenance fund (one-time grant of Rs 22500 in case of CG) irrespective of settlement of conflicting issues in the long term equitable distribution of water. The first phase (2010-2013) has finished by achieving remarkable success. All the stake holders were now looking forward for the second phase, which however could not start. Overall it was a great experience to be part of the widely appreciated combined effort of the ADB, WRD, NGOs and the local Community Institutions in the irrigation development and agriculture improvement through people’s participation in the state of Chhattisgarh.