Madurai

NABARD officials review project to rehabilitate marine life

Thoothukudi

A team of officials from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on Wednesday completed its two-day review of a project aimed at rehabilitating marine life habitats in the Gulf of Mannar.

The review, which was assisted by marine biologists from the Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI), was conducted for sanctioning a second tranche of the ₹24.74-crore project.

SDMRI marine biologists snorkeled into the water off the coasts of Van and Kariachelli islands and clicked underwater pictures, which were reviewed by K. Vijayapandiyan, District Development Manager, and other officials.

The project was started in 2015 and is scheduled to be completed in 2020. Controlling the erosion of Van Island, which was on the verge of submersion, was one of the top priorities of the project. Under the project, thousands of artificial reef modules were deployed to be placed 25 metres off the coast of the island.

Further, in Kariachelli and Vilanguchelli islands, sea-grass and coral-reef rehabilitation were also taken up under the project.

For coral rehabilitation, small cement slabs tied with coral fragments were attached to a concrete frame and placed underwater. To enhance the population of sea-grass which has been depleting due to practices like bottom trawling, it was tied to a frame and placed underwater.

The officials were satisfied with the progress. “Van island, which had an area of 20 hectares, was reduced to 1.5 hectares in 2015. But, after deployment of the artificial reef modules, accretion has taken place, and the island now has an area of 3.3 hectares during low tide,” said an official.

The team also visited Rama paramedical institute in Thalamuthu Nagar, where the rural bank funds vocational training for nurses. Under the project, 64 eco-development committees have been formed to improve the socio-economic condition of people living in the coastal villages.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:24:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/nabard-officials-review-project-to-rehabilitate-marine-life/article24155487.ece

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