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Land Irrigability of Narmada Command
Land Irrigability Class Percentage of SSP Command Area
I (Eminently suitable for irrigation) 8.75
II (Moderately suitable for irrigation) 39
III (Severe limitations for irrigation) 25.61
IV+VI (Marginal and unsuitable) 19.31
V (Not suitable - unclassified) 7.29

Source: Calculated from Map 3 (ORG 1982)

All of the command area in Kutch and Saurashtra is classified as Class III and below. 41% of the command area in Kutch and Saurashtra is not suitable for irrigation at all, whereas the remaining 59% has severe limitations for irrigation. In Banaskantha district of North Gujarat (Zone 12), only one- third of the command area is suitable for irrigation. If the SSP plans to "eliminate" drought in Kutch, Saurashtra and North Gujarat, it seems highly unlikely that it will do so through irrigation. As it stands, the SSP plans to irrigate only 1.6% and 9.3% of the cultivable area of Kutch and Saurashtra, respectively (Table 1).

Areas classified as "suitable for rice" (Class III) will tend to get waterlogged, so that only those crops that can grow under waterlogged conditions (i.e. rice) will survive. Interestingly, the existing cropping patterns in the zones labelled as "suitable for rice" (Z8-9, Z13) show that almost no rice is grown there at present. Rice is 0% of cropped area in Z9 and Z13 and only 0.06% of cropped area in Z8 (SSNNL 1989: 192). Further, the proposed cropping patterns for these zones under SSP irrigation do not describe rice as the predominant crop, with only 3.9, 5.4, and 0% paddy proposed for Z8, Z9 and Z13 respectively (GOG 1983). This somewhat contradictory position remains unexplained.

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