2,700 saplings planted across ten acres of barren land in Mayilampatti

Around 15 kilometres from the city is Mayilampatti, a dry village with huge tracts of barren land, which is now laying the foundation for a movement to increase the green cover in all the 235 village panchayats of Coimbatore district.

Mayilampatti has become the first village to be chosen for executing the ‘Pasumai Panchayat’ project, a mass sapling-planting initiative launched by Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in May.

This project has brought together many stakeholders right from NGOs such as Siruthuli, Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC), Thiyana Social Welfare Trust, to corporate firms such as Coimbatore Textile Club, besides Government agencies such as panchayats and District Rural Development Agency.

As many as 2,700 saplings have been planted across ten acres of barren poromboke land at Mayilampatti.

The main objectives of the project are to increase the green cover, provide roosting place for birds, and create a research field to help students pursue studies in agriculture, horticulture, photography and bird-watching, says RAAC secretary R. Raveendran.

Further, two ponds will also be dug at Mayilampatti, which has a significant peacock population.

Technological tools such as global positioning system(GPS) have been adopted for systematic planting.

The area, soil nature and ground water level were scientifically tested to find out the kind of plant species most likely to thrive on the land. Further, drip irrigation has been adopted, he says.

The growth data will be recorded with suitable picture support from an aerial view and posted on the web.

N. Nithyanandan, president of Thiyana Social Welfare Trust, says a lot of time was spent on convincing all the local stakeholders as the residents have to take ownership for the project to succeed.

While the Mayilampatti Panchayat accorded the necessary approval expeditiously, volunteers from Siruthuli, RAAC and Thiyana Social Welfare Trust, besides students from National Model School’s Nature Club, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Tirupur, and Kathir Engineering College, planted the saplings.

The Coimbatore Textile Club came forward to fund the drip irrigation while the Forest Department gave the saplings. The DRDA has suggested that MNREGS workers also be utilised for the project, he says.

With the project proving successful, he says many other Panchayats have approached them to initiate similar projects in their villages.

Already six acres have been identified in Neelambur Panchayat besides another 14 acres at Vagarayampalayam.

Mayilampatti Panchayat president Radhamani Selvaraj says around 30 people including several children work in the project every day from 6 a.m., an indication of the positive reception for the project from the residents.

A.V. Govindaraj, president, Arasur Panchayat, says that through this project they can leave behind a better place for the next generation.