The total irrigated area under the jurisdiction of the controversial water resources department has decreased in the state. The Economic Survey has blamed this downfall on the severe drought that required water to be diverted for drinking purpose. The survey is once again silent on the percentage of increase or decrease in the state’s irrigation potential.
The irrigated area under the jurisdiction of the water resources department decreased from 32.52 lakh hectares in 2011-12 to 24.48 lakh hectares in 2012-13. In the preceding year, the number had increased from 29.55 lakh hectare in 2010-11 to 32.52 lakh hectares.
“Due to insufficient rainfall in 2012-13, the state faced a severe drought situation. Live storage of water being very less, was required to be reserved for drinking purpose for which there was a decrease in the total irrigation potential utilised during 2012-13 as compared to the previous year,” says the Economic Survey.
It further states that the total irrigation potential created in the state was 49.26 lakh hectares, compared to 48.25 lakh hectares the previous year.
Like last year, the survey refrained from publishing figures on the total area that has been brought under irrigation. The Economic Survey released in 2012 had claimed that the area under irrigation had increased by a measly 0.1 per cent in the last decade. The Irrigation White Paper, however, claims the area had actually increased by 5.7 per cent. These initial revelations had given space for allegations about large scale corruption in the irrigation sector with money being paid to contractors and large scale corruption happening in the sector. Subsequently a committee under Madhav Chitale was appointed to look into the status of the irrigation sector in December 2012.
The state has this time decided to play safe and refrained from publishing the figures. “The data will be available once the report and recommendations of the committee are accepted,” says the survey.