Soil salinity threatens the command areas

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- INDIA is in "imminent danger of losing a large part of its productive lands through soil salinisation", says N T Singh of the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute in Karnal. Soil salinity is natural to the subcontinent, points out Singh. Even in ancient India, in the period between 2500 BC and 600 AD, soils had been classified as urvara (fertile) and anurwara (sterile). The latter were divided into usara (saline) and maru (desert). But since the middle of the last century, with the growth of irrigation, soil salination has emerged as a major threat to agriculture.

Source: N T singh, Dry Land Salinity in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent.

THREAT TO IRRIGATION
Saline and waterlogged area in selected canal commands of India:
Project Waterlogged
area
Saline/ alkali
area
    (Area in '000 ha)  
Ram Ganga (UP)
Sharda Sahayak (UP)
Gandak (Bihar)
Sri Ram Sagar (AP)
Nagarjuna Sagar LBC (AP)
Nagarjuna Sagar RBC (AP)
Tungabhadra (AP)
Tungabhadra (Karnataka)
Kadana (Gujarat)
Chambal (MP/ Rajasthan)
IG Canal (Rajasthan)
Krishna (Maharashtra)
All Commands (Gujarat)
195.0
260.0
562.0
60.0
33.1
114.0
30.0
37.7
89.0
98.7
43.1
3.3
13.8
(9.7)*
(7.0)
(52.9)
(47.6)
(9.4)
(24.0)
(10.0)
(7.4)
(38.7)
(20.3)
(8.0)
(30.9)
(6.1)
352.4
253.3
400.0
1.0
26.4
69.2
14.8
20.0
60.7
40.0
29.1
-
540.0
(17.6)
(6.7)
(38.1)
(0.8)
(8.0)
(14.5)
(5.0)
(4.0)
(28.7)
(8.2)
(5.4)
-
(23.9)
* Figures in parentheses indicate per cent of the potential irrigated area
Large areas irrigated by canals face both waterlogging and salinity. In the Gang and Indira Gandhi Canal command areas, the annual rise of groundwater has been 43-83 cms. Scientists at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute in Jodhpur estimates 60 per cent of these command areas of will develop drainage and salinity problems in 100 years.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.