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with a depth of two feet, it will be found that at these places, where the slope is so great that there may be said to be no banks, a pond has formed eight or ten inches in depth. The water is frequently lost in a swamp thus created, and the course beyond, from which many beegas were formerly irrigated, becomes completely dry. This will be found not uncommon below Dhoolia on the Panjur. Occasionally, two courses, both neglected in this way, and running nearly parallel with each other, will be scen abruptly terminating in a swamp, at a time when the reservoir is full enough to supply irrigation for perlaps one-third more of cultivation beyond. To avoid the swamp, the villagers cross further up, so that the ruin becomes every day more extended.

Whether the repairs of these works could be undertaken by the Engineering Department in Khandesh remains to be proved. Perhaps as a trial, some middle course might be adopted, by which the Natives would not be entirely freed from paying attention to the own property, nor the whole burden be thrown on Government. As the expense would be a main obstacle, unless proved to come within reasonable limits, any one water-course inight be taken for an experiment and thoroughly repaired. For this purpose the levels should be carried from the dam to the very fields, to ascertain if any land once watered is now above the level of the course. Great attention should be paid to the soil, as its rottenness will cause great absorption. The work might be attended to with the greatest care, under the superintendence of the Department, and the labour be supplied both by Government and the villagers, although it would be difficult to obtain the co-operation of the latter. In five or six years the fair wear and tear would be observed, clear data as to expense and profit collected, and a matter of surmise be turned into a practical certainty.

In general, cultivators cannot contribute either in labour or money to any material extent towards these repairs. Trifling efforts, such as a few days' labour for clearing a water-course, or repairing an embankment, might not unreasonably be expected of them; but even these, though sufficiently in accordance with established usage, it is most difficult, if not positively impracticable, to obtain. Promises are readily made, and even agreements signed, but as readily neglected ; even bullocks and carts, though well paid for, are not always to be had. There can be no doubt, however, that as Government derive the principal benefit from irrigation, the expense of providing and maintaining the means should fall upon it; except where cultivators derive advantage equal to, or greater than, that of the State, and where moreover

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the duty of keeping up such works has in time past devolved on them. Each instance inust depend on, and be tried by, its own merit. In cases of alienated lands, it will undoubtedly be right to make the holders responsible for a fair proportion of the charges.

Under former Governments, land was in all probability given in Inam to the persons charged with the repairs of these works, and owing to their not performing their duty, has since been resumed. However, it would be difficult to show how this was managed under the Mohamedan rulers. We are inclined to think that when the bhundarra had been constructed by Government, a fixed permanent revenue was attached to it, which the villagers were bound to pay ; and as there were no remissions, so under the Mohamedan rule, when the revenue was once fixed, there were no alterations. The water-courses were constructed, we should say, by the villagers, and as their profit was immediately the result of excavating them, they were left to lead the water on to their fields as they best could. Only on this supposition can we account for the discrepancies which appear in the works. Soinetimes one sees a valuable bhundarra, without trace of a water-course at all. The fixed revenue may have been founded chiefly on the supply of water in the river, and quantity of land which could be brought under irrigation. If lands were given in Inam on condition that the holders should keep in repair certain dams and water-courses, they certainly have all reverted to Government, from the inability of the holders of them to fulfil their engagements. It scarcely, however, can be admitted that the ineasure itself was ill calculated to answer the purpose

for which it was designed. The state of the Province before it came under British rule was wretched in the extreme, but under the Molamedan rulers it had doubtless attained a very flourishing condition. Its decline may be dated from the year 1802, when it was ravaged by Holkar's army. This was followed by a famine in 1803, and its ruin subsequently consummated by the rapacity and misgovernment of the Peshwa's officers.

Each water-course necessarily requires specific repairs. The general rule for all, as before observed, should be to straighten them as much as possible, without incurring heavy expense, and the only question then will be, as to the villages on account of which the expenditure should be incurred. There is a general feeling that

. outlay should only be risked where the return is pretty certain and immediate, in which case the small and poor villages benefit but little. Yet these frequently stand more in need of assistance than

VOL. V.-NO. I.

8

the populous ones; for, suppose that a village contains one hundred persons, of whom fifty are cultivators, and fifty are required to keep the water-course in order; thien when the inlabitants are reduced to seventy-five, there are only twenty-five available for cultivation ; when reduced to fifty, there can be no cultivation at all; and this is near the truth in some villages. The poverty of the Province, and, which is worse, want of population, are the great obstacles to all improvement. To maintain these water-courses in efficiency, requires the most skilful engineering, and it will generally be found that this portion of the works of irrigation, rather than the dams themselves, requires the most time and attention.

The reduced amount of irrigated land, even under our own strong government, especially of land irrigated from dams and aqueducts, forms a most important subject for consideration. In consequence of this reduction the most valuable kind of cultivation has been diminished by about one half. When the Province came into our possession, 22,227 beegas were under tillage ; in the year 1840-41, only 11,875 beegas.

This result suggests the inquiries, whether the reduction has been caused by a deficiency of rain, or by an improper assessment and collection of rents, or by inattention to the maintenance and repair of the means of irrigation. Each of these causes may have had some share in producing the result.

As regards the first inquiry, supposing that the cycle on which our calculations are grounded is not too limited for the deduction of an accurate inference, we conclude that some essential change has taken place in the climate ; for that the supply of water in the rivers has been greatly diminished during the period in question, is a fact which is generally admitted. The deficiency of rain is alleged by the ryots to have produced very injurious effects ; but we must not forget that farmers all over the world are addicted to unfavourable comparisons between present and former seasons. To prove by meteorological observations that this deficiency has actually taken place, would be rather difficult, and somewhat unnecessary. It may also be remarked that much reliance cannot be placed on the common assertions of changes in climate; yet the evidence of all persons shows that this cause is in operation, and the remains of bhundarras thrown across numerous watercourses, now perfectly dry, seem to prove conclusively that they were formerly perennial streams.

The second matter which we suggested for inquiry may also have had considerable influence, and of this the reductions which have

a

Diminution of irrigation ; the causes.

59 been made from time to time in the rates of assessment would show that Government have been cognisant. The average rate is still nine and a half rupees per beega, which is indisputably high when compared with the rates affixed to the same sort of cultivation in the Deccan and elsewhere. Without a full knowledge indeed of all the influencing circumstances, it would not be wise to conclude from such a comparison that the assessment is excessive ; but we see in it a reason for watchful observation, especially as we conjecture that the rates last introduced (of which more hereafter) will have the effect of diminishing still further all irrigated cultivation. That over-assessment has operated injuriously to a certain extent since the fall of prices, subsequent to the introduction of our rule, can scarcely be denied; but that by hastily recurring to those periodical reductions which liave been commonly regarded as the cure of all revenue diseases, we shall ever restore prosperity, is, we humbly conceive, a fallacious supposition. Even supposing the assessment to be high, yet if fairly levied with reference to the supply of water and species of crops—for the crops depend more on the water than on the land, which varies but little in quality, being, when susceptible of irrigation, the alluvial soil of the valleys—the burden is not so much felt. It is a question, whether when any great reduction in the rates of assessment has taken place, increased cultivation has followed; certainly, although advantages may have followed this measure in other parts of the country, the province of Khandesh has derived from it none. In these matters a most accurate knowledge of all the influencing circumstances is indispensable, yet it rarely can be obtained by the European revenue officer, or the native officials of his establishment. All great deviations from the old native revenue settlements should be made with the greatest care. The native rulers understood the subject far better in all its bearings than we can understand it, and though their rates of assessment were undoubtedly too high, yet as suiting the different species of cultivation they were more equable than the present ones. It has been frequently asserted, that when the amount of assessment is regulated according to the crop, there is a tendency to keep up excessive rates. Now with respect to the works under consideration, the assessment was formerly made with reference to the quantity of water consumed, as much as with reference to the crop, and this appears to us the only fair way of raising revenue from land irrigated by dams and water-courses. The amount should vary with the water required for the crop, especially when the soils are all pretty much alike. The crops which consume most water should be assessed the highest. As sugar-cane takes more water than other products, and is assessed at the same rate as other crops, an increase of its cultivation must tend to reduce the actual number of acres cultivated, and consequently the amount of revenue.

With regard to the third inquiry suggested to us, we may observe that the neglect of works designed for irrigation led to worse consequences than are generally supposed, especially before tlie Department of Public Works, upon which this kind of cultivation depends, was placed under the special superintendence of a professional officer, who was requested to give liis earnest attention to the subject. To what extent the Engineer's staff in the Province has been able to occupy itself with this most important branch will be hereafter shown. As a general rule, the officers should not think so much of constructing new works (to which they are naturally disposed), or even of restoring those which have gone entirely to ruin, but of checking the progress of decay in those which are still used. Frequently a small sum, judiciously expended, when dilapidation is commencing, may retain hundreds of acres in cultivation, and render the ultimate expenditure of large sums unnecessary.

Originally, the duties of the Engineer in Khandesh were confined to the repair and charge of these works of irrigation, and now their number is so large, and importance so great, that the whole time of the Department might well be devoted to them. Unfortunately, however, its time is inore taken up with roads, bridges, repairs of Collectors' offices, court-houses, jails, Assistant Collectors' residences in the districts, and similar matters. To answer the calls and repeated references regarding one work alone -the jail at Dhoolia--is quite sufficient to engage nearly thie whole of one officer's time. Since its formation the time and attention of the Department has of course in the long run been in the same ratio as its expenditure. The time expended hias been as follows:Supposing buildings taken at

1 0 Bhundarras will be

1 81 Works of communication

4 39 And supposing nine hours to be employed daily

Hrs. Ms. Buildings will engage

1 15 Bhundarras

2 152 Works of communication

5 29

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