We were never dismissive about the specific technical problems which you had raised. We said that we would be very responsive to these specific issues. But when you question the effectiveness of land improvement measures only carried out on coolie lands, and whether their lands, which you have now conveniently dubbed as “wastelands”, are suitable for agriculture, and you even go to the extent of wondering whether rainfall will be enough to cultivate both, then we are afraid that we have little in common to discuss.
Because the entire DLDP is a holistic strategy based precisely on this fundamental premise of the coolies themselves translating their dreams and visions through sheer hard labour on their own patches of dry lands. The DLDP is a conviction that this will result in a spin off effort initiated from the bottomup, reshaping the course of development in favour of the poor. These are very fundamental and deeply held convictions, quite independent of projects and funding. Changes in ICCO’s policy profile cannot make us abandon our faith.
You have very selectively quoted from our completion report on the DLDP 1st Phase and the evaluation report of Vanaja Ramprasad and Peter van der Werff. If you impartially go through our document, you will find an inbuilt spirit of questioning in us which distinguishes us from an unthinking lot floating from mere physical action to action. The environmental concern was implicitly expressed by us long before it became an NGDO fad and we made an honest attempt to come to grips with questions which are not simplistic in nature. The concrete recommendation made by the evaluation team was that everyone could learn a bit from the then just implemented DLDP in Bagepalli. Neither of us intended that you should zone down only on the failure of Agriculturists.