The following points highlight the ten major defects of irrigation projects in India. The defects are: 1. High Unit Cost of Irrigation Projects 2. Unutilised Capacity 3. Unviable Projects 4. Poor Productivity 5. Long Gestation Period 6. Irregular Supply 7. Regional Imbalances 8. Poor Progress of CAD 9. Salinity and Waterlogging 10. Inter-State Disputes.
Defect # 1. High Unit Cost of Irrigation Projects:
There is a rising trend in the unit cost of irrigation projects in India. Cost of irrigation potential which was Rs 1200 per hectare for large and medium projects and Rs 510 per hectare for minor projects during the First Plan has reached the level of Rs 26,875 and Rs 3,263 respectively at the end of Seventh Plan. This simply reflects the failure of the projects to extend its benefits extensively.
Defect # 2. Unutilised Capacity:
Irrigation projects in India are mostly suffering from unutilized capacity. Table 5.16 reveals that at the end of 2006-07, the actual utilisation of irrigation potential was 87.2 million hectares as against the total potential of 102.8 million hectares which was around 84.9 per cent.
Defect # 3. Unviable Projects:
In India, most of the irrigation projects are unviable as they are maintaining losses. Total loss of these projects in current times is estimated around Rs 1700 crore, which is leading the projects towards unviability and extinction.
Defect # 4. Poor Productivity:
In-spite of deriving irrigation facilities, the productivity of such irrigated land has been maintaining its low level, i.e., below 2 tonnes per hectare as against the expected level of 5 tonnes.
Defect # 5. Long Gestation Period:
Irrigation projects in India are suffering from long gestation period for its delay in the completion of such projects. Such delay enhances the cost of the project along with the cost of rehabilitation arising out of displacement of persons.
Defect # 6. Irregular Supply:
Another important problem of these projects is the irregularity in the supply of water. Whatever irrigation water is being made available by these projects this is also discontinued often on operational seasons leading to considerable damage in productive potential.
Defect # 7. Regional Imbalances:
Irrigation system in India has created the problem of regional imbalances as this irrigation potential is mostly concentrated in the states like Punjab, Haryana, U.P. and Tamil Nadu, but miserably poor in states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Assam etc.
Defect # 8. Poor Progress of CAD:
The progress of Command Area Development (CAD) programme is also not progressing satisfactorily towards maximum utilisation of irrigation potential.
Defect # 9. Salinity and Waterlogging:
Indian irrigation system is also suffering from the problems of salinity and waterlogging which forces the land towards loss of productivity and fallowing.
Defect # 10. Inter-State Disputes:
In India, inter-state disputes related to irrigation projects are very much common. Such disputes are continuing between Punjab and Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka and also between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Such disputes are creating serious problems in further development of the project and also in its utilisation.