ACT AND ORDINANCES
THE ASSAM FARMERS (GROUP IRRIGATION) ACT, 1978
An act to provide for creation of irrigation
potential by the formation of Groups amongst farmers
WHEREAS it is expedient
to make provision for creating irrigation potential through utilisation
of surface and underground water by formation of groups amongst farmers
to obtain loan from Banks.
It is hereby enacted in
the twenty-ninth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—
Short title, extent and
1. (1) This Act may
be called the Assam Farmers (Group Irrigation Act, 1978).
(2) It extends to the whole
(3) It shall come into
force at once.
2. In this Act, unless
there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,"—
land Includes land used or capable of being used for raising of crops,
grass or garden produce, vegetables, seed farming, piscicuture, horticulture,
growing of fruits or other similar purpose:
(b) "Bank" includes:—
(i) A banking company as
defined in section 5 of the Banking Regulation Act 1949,
(ii) "State Bank of
India" constituted under the State Bank of India Act, 1955.
(iii) A subsidiary Bank
as defined in the State Bank of India (subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959.
(iv) A "Corresponding
new Bank" constituted under section 3 of the Banking Companies
(Acquisition and transfer of undertakings) Act, 1970.
(v) The Assam Co-operative
Central Land Mortgage Bank Limited constituted under the Assam Co-operative
Land Mortgage Bank Act, 1960.
(vi) A Co-operative Land
Mortgage Bank registered under Assam Co-operative Societies Act, 1949.
(vii) Any other financial
institution or a co-operative society which may be notified to be a
Bank for the purposes of this Act by the State Government from time
(viii) "Regional Rural
Bank" constituted under the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976.
(c) "Cropping pattern"
means a system of cultivation specified in a scheme for using agricultural
land for any one or more or all of the following purposes —
(i) Raising of crops, grass
or garden produce and vegetables,
(ii) Seed farming,
(v) Growing of fruits,
(vi) Other purposes as
may be notified by the State Government;
means any member of a group who refuses to make any contribution or
take loan from a bank or fulfil any obligation, financial or otherwise,
for implementing a scheme or fails to repay by due date any instalment
of the loan taken for implementing the same;
(e) "Group" means
an association consisting of farmers not less than two in number formed
for the purpose of implementing a scheme under this Act;
(f) "Irrigation Officer"
means an Executive Engineer under the Irrigation Department having jurisdiction
over an area and includes any other officer not below the rank of a
Subordinate Engineer of the Irrigation Department authorised by the
Executive Engineer for the purpose of this Act and further includes
any other categories of officials or agencies duly notified by the State
(g) "Margin money"
means the money required to be paid by a farmer for obtaining loan from
a bank for implementing a scheme framed under this Act;
means prescribed by rules farmed under this Act;
means the details of any plan of an Irrigation work for using surface
water through lift and under-ground water through wells in any agricultural
land to promote or increase or assure agricultural produce prepared
for the purpose of rendering benefits a group of farmers;
Engineer" means the Superintending Engineer of the Irrigation Department;
Water" means water available below top soil layers;
(l) "Well" means
a well sunk for the search of extraction of under-ground water with
any are for irrigation and includes an open well, dug well bored well,
dug-cum-bored well, tube well and filter point.
Formation of group of
farmers and request for preparing a scheme
3. (1) Any two or more
farmers owning or having a right in any agricultural land in compact
area may form a group and apply to the Irrigation Officer in the prescribed
manner requesting him to frame a scheme for the purpose of implementation
of the provisions of this Act.
(2) On receipt of such
application, the Irrigation Officer may enter upon any land proposed
to be affected by the scheme and make the necessary enquiry or survey
about the feasibility of the scheme and if he is satisfied about the
feasibility of the scheme, he shall prepare a draft scheme and forward
it to the applicant farmers for suggestions and objections.
(3) After considering such
suggestions and objections as may be made by the applicant farmers,
the Irrigation Officer may make such modifications in the draft scheme
as he may think fit, and the draft scheme, as so modified, should be
sent by him to the bank to enable it to consider the feasibility of
the scheme, the credit worthiness of the farmers in question and the
question whether it is prepared to finance the scheme.
(4) If the bank indicates
its willingness to finance the scheme, the Irrigation Officer shall
finalise the schemes and send a copy of the finalised scheme to the
applicant farmers and also to the bank.
(5) On receipt of the notice
from the Bank each farmer shall deposit the margin money with the Bank
in the manner prescribed. If any farmer refuses or fails to deposit
the margin money within the time prescribed, any one or more of the
other farmers of the group concerned may deposit the margin money of
the defaulting farmer with the Bank.
(6) Whenever required by
the Bank, the farmers will execute mortgage deed or deeds or charge
in respect of the lands made chargeable for securing repayment of the
loans to be advanced by the Bank to the farmers of the group.
Enforcement of Scheme
of unwilling farmers
4. (1) When it appears
to any Irrigation Officer having jurisdiction over the area that framing
and implementation of a scheme under this Act for any compact area is
not possible owing to the failure of any one or more of the farmers
having interest in any portion of such area to join the group, he may,
on being satisfied after giving an opportunity to the farmer of being
heard, in the manner as may be prescribed, that there is no reasonable
ground for the farmer or farmers refusing to join a group and that such
joining is necessary and essential in the public interest, direct him
to join the group within such time as may be prescribed.
(2) If such farmer fails
to join the group, the other farmers of the group formed for the purpose,
may deposit the margin money in the manner laid down in sub-section
(5) of section 3 and thereafter all the provisions of this Act shall
apply to the defaulting farmer concerned.
Implementation of scheme
5. (1) The Irrigation
Officer or the group of farmers, as the case may be, shall implement
all schemes, framed under this Act in the manner prescribed.
(2) Any Scheme, framed
and implemented under this Act shall be maintained by the group of farmers
in the manner prescribed.
(3) If the Irrigation Officer
at any time finds that the group of farmers has not implemented or maintained
the scheme or has failed or refused to do so, he may, after giving in
writing a notice to the farmers, carry out such implementation and maintenance
and the cost incurred for such implementation or maintenance shall be
recoverable from farmers as public demand under the Bengal Public Demands
Recovery Act, 1913.
Penalty for obstruction
to the scheme
6. Any farmer of group,
refusing to adopt the cropping pattern specified in a scheme or obstructing
the construction of field channels or other works necessary for the
purposes of distribution of irrigation water to every part of the area
as required under the scheme, shall be punishable with imprisonment
for a term which may extend to three months or with a fine which may
extend to five hundred rupees or both.
Charge over crops
7. Notwithstanding anything
in any mortgage deed or loan bond executed by a farmer for obtaining
a loan for the purpose of implementing a scheme under this Act, the
mortgage Bank shall have a first charge over the crops that may be raised
on the land included in the scheme.
Provided that if the Bank
financing the investment under the scheme is not financing the farmers
for raising crops and such crop loans are given by another financial
institution for raising that crops shall have proportionate charge over
Appeal against order
of Irrigation Officer
8. (1) Any farmer aggrieved
by any order passed by an Irrigation Officer under the provisions of
this Act may appeal, in the manner prescribed, within fifteen days from
the date of receipt of the order, to the Superintending Engineer of
the Irrigation Department having jurisdiction over the area in which
the agricultural land of the farmer concerned is situated.
(2) The Superintending
Engineer, after giving an opportunity to the parties to be heard, may
within fifteen days of the date of appeal, confirm or modify the order
of the Irrigation Officer or reject the appeal or remand the case for
decision of the Irrigation Officer in the light of observations made
by the Superintending Engineer.
Application of revision
9. (1) Any farmer, aggrieved
by an order passed by the Superintending Engineer under the provisions
of sub-section (2) of Section 8, may apply in the manner prescribed
to the State Government within fifteen days of the date of passing of
the order for revising the same on the ground of hardship.
(2) The State Government
may, within fifteen days of the date of appeal, call for the records
of the case and pass orders as may be deemed fit, and such orders shall
Bar of jurisdiction of
courts or Tribals etc.
10. (1) Except as provided
in Sections 8 and 9 above no order passed in exercise of any power conferred
by or under this Act shall be called in question in any proceeding before
a court or tribunal or any other authority.
(2) No Civil Court shall
have jurisdiction in respect of any matter or action which the Irrigation
Officer, Superintending Engineer or the State Government is empowered
by or under this Act to determine or take and no injunction shall be
granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken
or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by under this Act.
Protection of action
taken in good faith
11. No suit or other
legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything in good
faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of any of the provisions
of this Act or of any rule or order framed or made thereunder.
Power to remove obstruction
12. When for the purpose
of making any enquiry or survey, whether in the course of framing of
a scheme under this Act or otherwise, the Irrigation Officer funds that
it is expedient to remove any obstruction or clear any part of the land
or any standing crop or cut down trees or jungles from any such land
he may ask the farmers to remove such obstructions or crops or jungles
and to cut down trees within such time as may be specified in writing
by him and if the farmers either refuse or neglect to comply with any
such order the Irrigation Officer shall himself arrange removal of the
obstructions or crops or jungles and cut down trees, as the case may
be, and the costs for such removal or cutting down shall be treated
as costs for implementing the scheme and shall be recoverable from the
farmers as public demand under Bengal Public Demands Recovery Act, 1913,
in such proportion as may be specified in writing by the Irrigation
Recovery of expenditure
13. (1) When any farmer
refuses to pay the margin money payable by him or refuses to obtain
any loan for implementing a scheme, the Irrigation Officer shall apportion
the expenditure incurred in implementing or maintaining the scheme amongst
all the farmers of the group and the defaulter’s share of such expenditure
shall be recoverable from him as a public demand under Bengal Public
Demands Recovery Act, 1913, and payments should be made to the other
farmers of the Group and their loan accounts with the Bank in appropriations.
(2) Notwithstanding any
terms and conditions provided for in the mortgage deed or loan bond
executed by a farmer of a group for the implementation of a scheme under
this Act, if any farmer of the group defaults in payment of any instalment
of the loan, due from him, such instalment of the loan shall be recoverable
from him as a public demand under Bengal Public Demands Recovery Act,
Provided that the provisions
of Bengal Public Demands Recovery Act, 1913 shall not be applied against
the defaulting farmers except on application by the Bank concerned to
the Collector of the District or such other authority as may be empowered
by the State Government in this behalf.
Cognizance of offence
14. No court shall take
cognisance of any offence punishable under this Act or of abetment of
any such offence save on complaint made by an officer authorised by
the State Government in this behalf.
Effect of Provisions
of the act inconsistent with other laws
15. The provisions of
this Act and the rules made thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding
anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law.
Power to make rules
16. (1) The State Government
may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying
out the purposes of this Act.
(2) In particular, and
without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, such rules
may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:—
(a) The manner in which
the application for farming a scheme under sub-section (1) of Section
3 is to be made;
(b) The manner in which
margin money is to be deposited with the bank and the time for deposit
thereof under sub-section (3) of Section 5;
(c) The manner for enforcement
of the scheme on unwilling farmers under sub-section (1) of Section
(d) The manner in which
the scheme is to be implemented and maintained under sub-section (1)
and (2) of section 5;
(e) The manner in which
appeal is to be made under sub-section (1) of Section 8;
(f) The manner in which
the application for revision is to be made under sub-section (1) of
(g) And such other matters
provisions whereof is necessary to be made in the rules.
(3) Every rule made under
this Section shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made, before
the Assam Legislative Assembly while it is in session for a total period
of fourteen days which may be comprised in one session or in to successive
sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session in which it is so
laid or the sessions immediately following the Assam Legislative Assembly
agree in making any modification in the rule or the Assam Legislative
Assembly agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter
have effect, only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case
may be; so however, that any such modification or annulment shall be
without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under
Secretary to the Govt. of