Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area Development Programme

The Command Area Development was introduced in the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area in 1974. The main objectives of the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area were as under:

1. To Reduce Water Pilferages of Canal Water

The wastage of water results not only in under-utilisation of water but also leads to water-logging and soil salinity, affecting adversely the yield and production of crops.

2 Development of Social Amenities and Infrastructural Facilities

Since the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area was newly colonised, there was an urgency to provide civic amenities and infrastructural facilities to supply the necessary agricultural inputs to the farmers. The emphasis, therefore, was laid on the construction of roads, markets and storage facilities to enhance agricultural production.

3. Control of Wind Erosion

There was a serious menace of wind erosion in the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area which was a potential danger for the silting of the canal and its distributaries. Therefore, efforts needed to be made to reduce wind erosion in the command area of the canal.

4. Lining of the Canal

The area through which the canal passes being desertic and sandy, there was a strong possibility of water seepage and water-logging. To check and minimise the water seepage, lining of the canal was imperative.

5. Reclamation of Land

Provisions of levelling of land and reclamation of degraded lands.

6. Afforestation and Pastures Development

Afforestation along the banks of the canal, its distributaries as well as along the new rural and urban settlements to stabilise the sand dunes. The migratory sand-dunes not only damage the arable land and pastures but may also bury the orchards and settlements under the sand.

Implementation of the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area has helped in bringing the land under irrigation rapidly, increase in water use efficiency, agricultural production and productivity. The improvement in irrigation not only led to phenomenal increase in agricultural production but also introduced change in the patterns and rotation of crops. Due to the availability of canal water, farmers have adopted the cultivation of wheat, barley. groundnut, mustard, orchards, and vegetables in place of Bajra, green-gram (Moong) Moth (red gram), guar, and millets.

The Indira Gandhi Canal has brought much prosperity to farmers of the region and the cropping patterns have changed substantially. However, there occurred numerous environmental and ecological problems in the command area. Apart from waterlogging, the underground water table is rising, rendering the agricultural and pasture lands useless from the agricultural point of view. The water-logged areas have become the breeding grounds for mosquitoes and malaria. These problems need to be addressed on a priority basis.