January 25, 2003

2003: Comment # 1

Tanks almost always have multiple stakeholders with conflicting interests. Shah argues that fisher-folks might be the best people to manage irrigation tanks in Bundelkhand...

Who Should Manage Chandeli Tanks?

Tushaar Shah

[Based on research by Manas Satpathy, Arvind Malik, Ujjal Ganguly and Ved Arya]

Historic Chandeli tanks of Bundelkhand — built by ruling Chandela kings a thousand years ago — were once glorious but are now steadily declining. If managed better, these can still matter.

Chandeli tanks are entrenched in low-level performance equilibrium because their stake-holder groups have conflicting interests which they pursue with abandon.

Strategies used by the Madhya Pradesh government have so far not worked; but an answer to poor management may lie in improvising intelligently on an institution widely believed to be dubious — of using fisher-folk to manage tank irrigation as well.

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