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‘Focus on economic activities with minimum disturbance to ecology’

Special Correspondent
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Training course on watershed management begins in Udhagamandalam

Dean, Agricultural College and Research Institute, A. Rajarajan (left) being greeted by the head, CSWCRTI, O.P.S. Khola in Udhagamandalam on Monday. —Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy
Dean, Agricultural College and Research Institute, A. Rajarajan (left) being greeted by the head, CSWCRTI, O.P.S. Khola in Udhagamandalam on Monday. —Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

A six-day short course on Integrated Watershed Management for Middle Level Officers implementing the Western Ghats Development Programme (WGDP) and the Hill Area Development Programme (HADP) organised by the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute (CSWCRTI) got under way here on Monday.

Delivering the inaugural address the Dean, Agricultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, A. Rajarajan, said that both the Union Planning Commission-funded special area programmes WGDP and the HADP came into being in 1975.

While the former now covered 171 taluks in five states, the latter is being implemented in four districts of the country including the Nilgiris.

In both the programmes the objectives are eco-regeneration and eco-preservation with emphasis on preservation of biodiversity and rejuvenation of the hill ecology.

Stating that HADP played an important role in rural development, he said that focus is on encouraging economic activities with minimum disturbance to the ecology.

The head, CSWCRTI, O.P.S. Khola, who presided, said that in the implementation of both the WGDP and the HADP the stress is now on convergence.

Pointing out that the watershed approach has undergone several changes over the years, he said that emphasis now is on a holistic approach.

Underscoring the need to update skills, he said that in the implementation of schemes equal importance should be given to productivity and marketing. Any activity which is considered beneficial to the farmer should become part of the watershed plan. At the same time sustenance should be ensured.

Pointing out that both the essential resources water and land are dwindling by the day, he said that it has led to the watershed approach being adopted in the implementation of many schemes.

The Principal Scientist, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, A. Nataraj, said that in the 12th Plan considerable importance will be given to watershed development. The sector is expected to get about Rs. 1.75 lakh crore. Equal importance will be given to conservation and productivity.

Senior Scientist and Course Coordinator K. Kannan underlined the importance of mid career training in any field. Twenty-five officers from Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi are participating in the training programme.

Scientist K. Rajan proposed a vote of thanks.

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