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Watershed project will be a boon

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BENEFICIAL: The site for the watershed project.
BENEFICIAL: The site for the watershed project.

R. Vimal Kumar

To come up at Karungadal in Tuticorin district

Tuticorin: Agricultural activities in Karungadal, a sleepy village under Alwarthirunageri block, is set to scale heights, as the District Watershed Development Agency (DWDA) plans to establish a watershed there during the 11th Plan period at a cost of Rs.75 lakh.

The watershed, spread over 1,365 hectares, will benefit a population of 11,825 persons belonging to 2,938 families in the village, once the entire works are completed.

Besides augmenting agricultural production and productivity in the region multifold, the project is expected to generate more employment for the residents of the village.

The capital for the project is allocated by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) from its Watershed Development Fund (WDF), which is created with a corpus of Rs.200 crore.

“We have selected to fund the establishment of watershed in the village since the region is predominantly a drought-prone area with less than 30 per cent being irrigated,” R. Bharat Kumar, Assistant General Manager of NABARD, said.

M. Mohanados, Joint Director of Agriculture and project officer of DWDA, said that the project would bring about an optimum balance between the demand and use of natural resources in the village so that they would remain sustainable for a longer period.

The scheme will be implemented in two phases — capacity building phase (CBP) and full implementation phase (FIP), with the participation of non-governmental organisations and local people.

A total of 12 farm ponds will be established on an area of 113.3 ha for soil and water conservation. The existing ponds in the area will be revitalised.

Development works, including afforestation and wasteland development, will be taken up in the remaining 1,251.7 ha in the FIP. Saplings of mango, sapota, neem and pungan, will be planted as part of the afforestation activities.

Mr. Mohanados said that livelihood support would be extended to the villagers during the implementation of the FIP, by providing loans for income generation activities like rearing of animals and tailoring, among others.

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