INRM Patch planning creating positive outcomes and sustainable agriculture

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Introduction

For ensuring that maximum soil and water conservation takes place, a patch planning exercise was done in Khadma Gram Panchayat in Magarlod block of Dhamtari district. In planning of MGNREGA works it has been observed that community members mostly prefer land levelling work which increases their net land available for agriculture but has limited impact on the water availability and conservation.

To reduce run off its important that water is stopped periodically, and velocity is reduced, this requires construction of structures in contiguous patch of land depending on slope and terrain. In Magarlod block, under the High Impact Mega watershed project which is a key flagship initiative of Government of Chhattisgarh a patch was identified, and planning was done in accordance with watershed principles. This was done jointly by MGNREGA team, community members and team of ASORD, a CSO facilitating the planning process.

The work which was finalized in planning was –

  1. Deepening of the Dam
  2. 2 Kachhi Nali construction
  3. 10 Loose boulder structures construction

In addition, for treatment of command area of the watershed following activities were planned

  1. Land leveling and bunding
  2. Well construction
  3. Dabri/pond construction

Need of work

The water storage capacity of the existing dam was very less compared to the amount that was needed for sustainable agricultural activities in the catchment area and hence dam deepening work was prioritized. The faulty outlet design led to the destruction of bunds which carried the soil in the lowlands and led to problems in the cultivation of paddy. To prevent the widening of the gullies that were created and prevent the flow of soil loose boulder checks have been proposed. Additionally, for proper distribution of the water in the command area of dam 2 Kachi Nali was planned. 

Challenges faced

As the project area was under forest , it required liasioning and convincing the Forest department which was challenging and time taking.

Implementation Process

This integrated and continuous planning would not be possible if ASORD has not conducted a participatory planning exercise in the Panchayat in which they not only involved SHG members, community members but PRI members also participated actively. Regular discussions on “Availability of water for agriculture through MGNREGA” were conducted in each hamlet and strategy was made on how it can be done.

The present ground water status and baseline data of families was also collected to build an understanding on the present socio-economic status of the households.

A 3-day participatory planning exercise was carried out in the village in which following activities were carried out –

  1. Social map – To identify vulnerable households (landless families and single women families) and existing infrastructure in the villages
  2. Resource map – For identification of the natural resources in the village and their present status
  3. Seasonal work availability map – To map the lean periods in which no work is available 
  4. Planning and transect walk – Planning was done for both community and individual works followed by transect walk in which ASORD members, villagers and technical assistant visited the site and assessed the technical viability of the proposed interventions
  5. Later the proposed work was sanctioned in Gram Sabha
  6. List of the works proposed was given in the forest department and sites were re-visited with Forest Guard and Deputy Ranger of that compartment for final approval
  7. After finalizing the plan all the work had submitted in Janpad Panchayat for the Technical and Administrative Sanction.
  8. Rozgar Diwas was organized so that more and more people take part in the opened work

Impact

The scenario has changed in Giraholadih village, Khadma Gram Panchayat and the impact is visible in the lands and lives of farmers whose land falls in catchment area. After the work completion following impact was visible

  • 128-hectare land has become irrigated of 23 farmers
  • Siltation in 4-hectare land of 6 farmers has reduced by 55%
  • Multiple cropping is being done now by farmers and they are cultivating pulses, millets and vegetables also
  • 27 farmers have adopted Machan technique for the vegetable production and 20 farmers had cultivated the millets in that uplands of 5.7 acre
  • Significant improvement in the efficiency of the labor and quality of work – Earlier they used to dig till depth of 4-5 inch only but now the depth of one Godi in that village has increased to 7-7.5 inch.

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