Staff Reporter

Entry level activities have commenced at an estimated cost of Rs.3.9 lakh

THENI: Five micro watershed programmes covering nine villages have been taken in three blocks at an estimated cost of Rs.96.11 lakh. Entry level activities have commenced in these water sheds at an estimated cost of Rs.3.9 lakh.

The watershed areas are in Mayiladumparai, Megamalai and Kadamalaigundu in Andipatti block, Kottakudi and Bodi in Bodi block and Erasakkanaickanur hill areas in Uthamaplayam block and Keezhvadakarai, Vadakarai and A. Pudhukottai under Western Ghats Development Programme.

The entire micro watershed spreading in 500 hectares had been divided in to three divisions – upper, middle and lower reaches - to undertake various types of soil conservation activities to prevent soil erosion and protect Western Ghats bordering Theni and Dindigul districts.

A total of 112 loose boulder check dams will be established in upper reaches, 120 check dams including 39 cement mason check dams in middle reaches and 52 Gabion check dams at lower reaches, besides percolation tanks and four village tanks.

Check dams constructed across a forest stream in Keezhavadakarai villages prevented soil erosion and scaled down velocity of water in main stream which confluenced at Sezhumba River. Earlier, rainwater wiped off soil in his farm, said horticulturist R. D. Perumal. Water stored in check dams has improved ground water considerably. With sufficient water, mango yield will increase by 10 to 15 per cent, he hoped.

Talking to press persons after inspecting watershed in Periakulam block here on Wednesday, Collector P. Muthuveeran said that the main objective of watershed development programme was to improve groundwater sources, ensure sustainable social economy, protect natural resources and develop agriculture production. Accumulation of silt in the Vaigai dam will be reduced substantially.

We wanted to cover more villages under watershed programme to ensure sustainable agriculture activities in the district.

Farmers will be tutored to scale down spraying of pesticides in mango farms to protect farmers’ friendly insects. The government had sanctioned 19 sub-watersheds and 1,025 micro-watersheds for 2009-10. Kanyakumari and Theni districts in the State were fully under Western Ghats.