While talking to farmers in the Salikheda village of Sehore, the team noticed a number of irrigation pipes in black hanging from the roof. Curious, Samarthan team member Narayan asked Gujmal Barela, "Where did you get these pipes from?" Gujmal told him that a few 63 MM pipes were handed over after signing the documents, and the concerned person geo-tagged the land. Surprisingly, the supplier didn’t take money from the farmers who created doubt about the whole act.
This interaction revealed that pipes and pumps were given to the farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana of the Horticulture Department. Under this scheme, according to the land holding of farmers, they get a 45-55 per cent subsidy for drip irrigation systems (17 pipes of 65 MM, 28 filters of drip bundle, 1 venturi, 1 Screen filter, 1 control valve and one pressure valve in one acre of plot size) in the estimate of Rs. 1.2 Lacs.
Even if the farmers were aware on the use of drip irrigation systems, incomplete set of drip irrigation, those pipes were of no use to them.
This matter was then discussed in the monthly meeting of Sanyukt Kisaan Morcha- a collective of Farmer Groups and individual farmers who came together to address the issues related to farmers in Sehore collectively, it was decided that the team will collect the beneficiary details of the scheme and field-validate it to understand this better. The team interacted with 46 beneficiaries from 5 villages. After conducting this assessment, the following points came out:
- Material worth Rupees 10-15 thousand are given to farmers, whereas under the scheme, farmer contribution-share amounts to approx. Rs. 50,000.
- An approved company was responsible for the distribution and installation of the Drip Irrigation system for the selected farmers
- Instead of giving the complete drip system to the farmer, inferior quality pipes were given to farmers, which is of no use to them.
- A few pipes and pumps were installed and geo-tagged along with pictures to generate proof of installation.
This was a classic example of misuse of public funds and subsidies meant for vulnerable farmers.
Government launches welfare schemes to ensure that better and more efficient facilities reach to the last mile deserving person, but due to the negligence of the implementing system and poor monitoring, the schemes lose their efficiency and core purpose.
Emerging issues of the study were discussed in the monthly meeting of Sanyukt Kisaan Morcha and the members along with farmers went to the Deputy Director of Horticulture Department in the Sehore district. On the basis of verification by the competent authorities, a complete drip system was installed by the company on 13 farmers’ land.
The farmers started vegetable cultivation after fitting of drip, which ensured them that even with less water they can generate livelihood by vegetable cultivation, even during difficult times of summer.