Rs. 6 crore allotted for development projects
Farmers in Sirumalai will soon get permanent irrigation sources to protect standing horticulture crops and tribals sustainable income generation activities, thanks to entry level activities and other development programmes being implemented under Integrated Water Shed Management Programme by the Department of Agriculture Engineering. A sum of Rs. 6 crore will be pumped for next seven years to execute various development projects.
The department has massive plans to implement 10 water shed programmes on the hill and spend at least Rs.52 lakh this year.
To begin with, a sick trichoderma culture unit that has equipment worth Rs.3 lakh and production capacity of 20 kg a day, at Pazhaiyur will be revived utilising SHGs. Two groups – one comprising 12 men and other by 12 women, mostly belonged to SC community - have been formed to produce the fungi, that will cure root rot disease in banana and other horticulture crops. The department will also take care of marketing, eliminating biggest bottle neck in running the unit. Initially, it will use them for water shed development project and also sell to farmers in other areas.
It had chosen 45 tribal families to introduce apiculture as income generation activity.
Training and technology on honey processing will be imparted to them. Sirumalai will be made a honey production centre.
Already, entry level activities had fulfilled long pending demands. First, people at Kdamankulam have got a 3.5 metre asphalt road up to Pallakadu with stone pavement reducing travel distance sizably. (With no roads, they had travelled six km through private patta land to transport agriculture produces on horse back.)
Three storage rooms were constructed at Agasthiyarpuram, Thenmalai Ooradi and Thandorakuttu to stock agriculture produces.
Inspecting entry-level work and other development activities on Sirumalai on Saturday, Collector K. Nagarajan said that Kadamankulam road will be converted in to cement road. Stone bunding and soil conservation woks will be taken up in all watersheds. At present, Sirumalai hill has just two tanks for storing water, covering 11,500 hectares of agriculture lands. A total of 220 baby ponds, each 6,500 litre capacity, will be created in every survey number on the hill. Cost of each pond will be Rs.40,000. Such measure will be useful for coffee, broad beans and chow chow growers to protect plants at flowering stage, he added.