With a call to bridge the gap between recommendations of the scientific community on conserving soil and water and preventing natural calamities like landslips, the 59th Foundation Day of the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute was celebrated at Rees Corner near here on Monday.
Participating as the chief guest the Project Director, Hill Area Development Programme (HADP), Srinivas R. Reddy, lamented that repeated warnings notwithstanding constructions are coming up at unsuitable places particularly slopes.
Urging the people to learn from the wisdom of the natives of The Nilgiris who had brought into being settlements in various parts of the district a long time ago, he said that the hattis (Badaga hamlets) and munds (Toda hamlets) were created on flat surfaces.
Stating that with concerted efforts the ecology of the district can be protected, he said that by taking precautions landslides can be prevented. The head of the CSWCRTI, O.P.S. Khola, who presided, said that the beneficiaries of research activities should be aware of not only their rights but also their responsibilities.
Pointing out that landslides were a major problem in The Nilgiris, he said that observations and recommendations of scientists should be respected.
Research bodies are now adopting the bottom up approach in order to ensure that their activities serve their purpose. The District Forest Officer, The Nilgiris North, B. Sugirtharaj Koilpillai, pointed out that it takes thousands of years for one inch of top soil to form and exhorted the people to help check soil erosion. The Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), S. Kavitha, said that under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNAREGA) schemes which may aggravate problems relating to soil erosion will not be taken up. The Executive Engineer, Department of Agricultural Engineering, R. Raja, said that farmers’ cooperation is necessary to maintain water conservation structures.
Senior Scientist, CSWCRTI, S. Manivannan, said that in preventing landslides the attitude of the people should match the technologies recommended by the scientists.
The release of a handbook on soil conservation and an exhibition formed part of the celebrations.