ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Without Perspective

socio-economic groups but also for the environmental damages will be a better analytical tool than the conventional BCR. Finally, A Sunder, in his-short paper 'Evaluation of Public Irrigation System', supports storage-based public irrigation systems using the familiar pro dam arguments. He ends up with a call to the irrigation department in each state to carry out careful assessment of their major irrigation projects if "they wish to continue in business"! Most of the arguments of the contending groups are based on the following three major factors: economics, ecology, and equity, The supporters, though recognise the ecological and equity implications of larger irrigation schemes, emphasise that these costs are insignificant proportion of the potential economic benefits of larger dams. Similarly, the opponents, accept the positive aspects of larger dams, but feel that such benefits cannot compensate for the ecological damages and equity costs. In order to find a middle ground between these two extreme viewpoints, the present volume presents three suggestions: (1) the environmentalists' advocacy of a series of smaller dams instead of a large scheme, (2) Dhawan's idea of 'appropriate' reduction in dam height (and hence, storage capacity), and (3) reduction in the number of large dams by applying a stricter clearance requirement based on a comprehensive BCR norm. However, since these suggestions have not escaped criticism, none of them is going to be of much help in the contat of the current crisis. Moreover, these solutions remain largely an academic exercise as the issue has long since gone out of the economic realm and entered in the realm of power politics where the outcome is strictly a function of the relative bargaining strengths of the contending groups.

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