Gujarat has been able to realise only 10 per cent of the irrigation potential of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP),the largest and the most expensive river valley project in India,a water management expert has claimed.
“Against a target of over 18.5 lakh hectares,only 2 lakh hectares is currently been irrigated through the project,” Tushaar Shah,principal researcher of Colombo-based IWMI (International Water Management Institute),said while addressing a group of agri-scientists at a national seminar organised at the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research (SPIESR) on Saturday.
“The SSP needs a complete rethink,” said Shah who heads the IWMI team in Gujarat.
According to Shah,officials within the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam were stuck up with the idea of developing service canals instead of opting for an underground pipeline network that exists in US and Europe.
“At present,the irrigation is restricted to a small strip of land along the main canal. In order to increase irrigation coverage,most developed countries are switching from service canals to underground pipelines,” he said,adding this could ensure a rapid spread of irrigation benefits among farmers.