Lack of ‘after sales service’ by suppliers main complaint

HYDERABAD: The happiness of farmers using drip and sprinkler irrigation systems seems short-lived, thanks to the non-availability of ‘after sales service’ by their suppliers.

Following a slew of complaints by farmers about negligence in offering after sales service, the Government has begun penalising the micro irrigation companies by stopping their payments.

They will get their dues only after the defects are rectified, according to a senior official of Andhra Pradesh Micro-Irrigation Project (APMIP).

Armed with a report by the Andhra Pradesh Productivity Council (APPC), which has conducted impact evaluation in 1.66 lakh hectares to study the functioning of MI systems, officials of the APMIP have come across 90,000-odd minor and major defects in the systems supplied by 21 companies. Micro Irrigation has been developed in 2.52 lakh hectares in the State.

Complaints galore

Notwithstanding a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Government and the MI companies to undertake prompt operation and maintenance, complaints continue to pour in.

The MI companies have been asked to open depots in the districts. “So far 40 such depots have been opened in the State that stock spare parts and carry out after sales service,” the official says.

At least 650 staffers have been appointed by these companies for the maintenance of existing systems.

A few companies were blacklisted by District Collectors for failing to honour the MoU.

Resource centres

The Government plans to set up APMIP and State Horticulture Mission (SHM) resource centres in 239 places covering 700 mandals in the State by next month to provide direct interface between farmers and officials of APMIP and horticultural mission.

These resource centres will provide information on the implementation of the APMIP and SHM schemes, conduct training for farmers, maintain relevant data of programmes, register specific issues of maintenance of micro irrigation systems and take up after sales service.