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Water Resources Development provides the basic
infrastructure for the growth of economy of the
country and large investment has been made for
the purpose in our country. Irrigation is an artificial
application of water to soil for crop production by
constructing headworks across a river. In a world
of explosive population growth, particularly in
developing nations, the increase in agricultural production in general and food grain production in particular has not kept pace with the growth of the population. Every means must therefore be sought to increase agricultural production. In the arid and semi-arid zones of the world one of the principal means to achieve this, is development of irrigation. Our country, India also needs irrigation to keep pace with the growth of its huge population, which has crossed one billion mark in this millennium.

NECESSITY OF IRRIGATION IN THE STATE OF ASSAM :

The economy of Assam is predominantly agricultural based, as about 85% of the populations live on agriculture and allied activities for their livelihood. The net sown area in the State of Assam is 2.734 million hectare, which is approximately 35% of the geographical area of Assam. To meet the rising demand for food and to provide employment to the growing population, it is highly necessary to increase the pace of irrigation development.

CREATION OF IRRIGATION DEPARTMENT :

The state government created the then Flood Control and Irrigation Department under the Flood Control and Irrigation Ministry and all the works pertaining to water resources were executed by the F.C& I Department. The Government of Assam felt the importance of the irrigation during seventies and separate Irrigation Department was created in the year 1974 by bifurcating it from the erstwhile F. C. & I Department to develop the irrigation potential of the state.

IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT IN ASSAM :

Out of total geographical area of 78.438 lakh hectares, total crop area is about 40.87 lakh hectares as per latest available figures. The ultimate irrigation potential is assessed as 27.00 lakh hectares. The potential created by the department upto March 2004 is 6.75 lakh hectares and out of this approximately 2.05 lakh hectares created by Major/Medium Irrigation Scheme, 3.13 lakh hectares by Minor Irrigation Scheme and 1.49 lakh ha by Shallow Tube Well (S.T.W.) and others schemes. The overall irrigation development in the State is 25% of the ultimate irrigation potential of State against 50% to 90% in case of other states of India. The poor development in Assam is mainly due to late start of these activities and inadequate plan allocation under irrigation sector provided in subsequent plans.

The Irrigation Department is the nodal authority of the Government of Assam responsible for harnessing water resources by constructing Weirs/Headworks and networks of water carrier system/canal.

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