Madurai

A ‘green’ Ramanathapuram in the making

In about two to three years, the green cover in the arid district of Ramanathapuram is expected to vastly improve at the panchayat level, according to Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao.

The district, which is an extremely dry region, is witnessing a silent green revolution. About seven months ago, poromboke land was identified in all 429 panchayats under the ‘mini forest’ project, a multi-department initiative of the Centre and the State.

In each of the panchayats, forest officials have suggested that plants such as gauva, sapota and vembu be grown depending on the type of soil. Local workers have been roped in under the MGNREGA programme for the purpose and additionally entrusted with the task of protecting the saplings from animals, the Collector said.

The involvement of locals not only gives them the task of increasing the green cover, but also the satisfaction of seeing a barren land turning into fruit-bearing orchards. Native saplings will be raised in the mini-forests, he adds.

Barren lands used as dump yard or covered with bushes have been reclaimed in the last four months under the project. Saplings raised in exclusive nurseries have been planted in these lands and periodically watered. The district administration hopes to plant around two lakh saplings, which will improve the quality of air.

Rajamani, a worker who waters the plants at Paramakudi block, hopes the district will soon have more shade and fruits.

He says officials can form self-help groups or mini-clusters and engage locals with seed money through cooperative banks. They will be accountable for the green cover in the panchayats.

The District Rural Development Agency says it has already earmarked funds for raising plants under the MGNREGA project.

The green initiative will usher in a new-look Ramanathapuram, Mr. Rao feels.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 9:29:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/a-green-ramanathapuram-in-the-making/article31781400.ece

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