Impact Assessment Study of Sarda Sahayak Pariyojana in Uttar Pradesh

Background: Sarda Sahayak Pariyojna [S.S.P] was initiated in 1968 with an objective to irrigate a culturable command area [CCA] of 16.77 lakh hectares with 70 percent irrigation intensity that brought the net command area to be irrigated to 11.69 lakh ha. The initial cost estimate was Rs. 64.84 crore which escalated to Rs 1300 crore when the project was completed in June 2000. S.S.P provides canal irrigation to 16 districts of central and eastern U.P. The 260 km. long feeder channel of S.S.P emerges from the banks of Sarda River, located in Sharda Nagar village of Lakhimpur Khiri district. Five major canals viz. Dariyabad, Barabanki, Pratapgarh, Allahabad and Hydergarh arise from feeder canal that provide irrigation to lakhs of farmers in 150 development blocks of 16 districts, of U.P. The total length of S.S.P. based canals, including minors and distributors comes to approximately 15000 km.

Objectives: The objectives of the present evaluation study are to :-

  1. Identify the impacts of the project at the levels of household and village in terms of a few selected socio – economic and environmental parameters.
  2. Understand the systematic impact of S.S.P in changing the efficiency of the agriculture sector in the command area.
  3. Investigate the causes behind the time overrun.
  4. Suggest necessary remedial actions to ensure the objectives for which the project was designed and commissioned are meaningfully achieved.

Methodology: A multi stage stratified random sampling procedure was followed to identify the respondents for the socio – economic survey.

  1. Out of total of 900 villages covered by S.S.P a smaller set of 300 villages [20 villages in each district] were identified for further sampling purposes.
  2. Out of the total of 300 villages, five villages from each district were selected. Of the five villages four villages were command area villages and one was control village. Of the four command area villages two were located at the head of the canal, one at the middle and another at the tail end of the canal.
  3. From each of the village 20 respondents were identified for recording the impact assessment. Out of beneficiaries 15 were beneficiary farmers and 5 were non-beneficiary farmers’ mostly landless agriculture labour. As such total of 1411 respondents were identified.
  4. Tools like Participatory Resource Appraisal [PRA], Focused Group Discussion [F.G.D] etc were adopted to fill – in household schedule.

Impact: Regarding impact of S.S.P. over 1411 households – the details, are given below:-

  1. S.S.P does not appear to have made considerable impact on the household income, ownership of assets and investment profile of the people residing within and outside of the command area of S.S.P.
  2. Acomparative assessment of the investment portfolio of the residents of S.S.P command area those off it also do not paint a very rosy picture about the impact of the project. The S.S.P residents have made an average investment of Rs. 38324.58 as compared to Rs. 34168.43 by the other group.
  3. The irrigation intensity [measured as percentage of gross irrigated area to operational holding] is 83.77 percent in the command are compared to 88.71 percent in the non – command area. This difference must be weighed against the fact that in 1979-80 the irrigation intensity in the command area was 75.99 percent and that in other region was 0.00 percent.
  4. Regarding indebtedness, the beneficiaries were indebted to the extent of 13 percent of their gross average annual income while the non – beneficiaries were indebted to the extent of almost 16 percent of their gross annual income.
  5. Sample study across sixteen command districts of S.S.P. revealed that the average yield per hectare for four major crops was higher for beneficiary farmers of S.S.P. command as compared to those of non – beneficiaries.
  6. There had been a visible spurt in the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides while the use of farmyard manure [FYM] dropped drastically to 60 percent level. Seed Treatment and sowing methods had changed considerably.  Use of fungicide and culture had become very common which did not happen in pre S.S.P. period.
  7. With the introduction of canal irrigation the women’s involvement in farming activities had increased and their nutrition status had improved due to increase in farm income.
  8. Landless labourers [88 percent] were able to get sufficient work after the commissioning of S.S.P. in the pre S.S.P phase only 77 percent landless labourers could find enough work within the command villages. A shift from earlier practice of payment of wages in kind to that in cash was visible in the villages of command area.
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