The literature on the dynamics of irrigation management, in terms of the analysis of interlinked agrarian relations, is very limited. This paper attempts to get a detailed grassroots view of farmers' knowledge of various issues pertaining to the relationship between agrarian structure, land and water. Data from 200 sample cultivators of different farm sizes and 20 landless labour households were collected from eight sample villages situated in head-reach and tail-end distributaries of branch canals in selected Hirakud irrigation commands in Odisha, India. An analysis of the nature of the interlinking of various agrarian markets in the studied distributaries showed that interlinked credit transactions are mostly prevalent among landless labour and small farm households. To some extent, they are higher in head-reach distributaries compared to tail-end distributaries. Research showed that the incidence of tenancy in the head-reach areas is also higher than the tail-end. There is a need for the adequacy, timeliness and reliability of water supply, and for equality in water distribution between head- and tail-reaches.

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