Madurai

‘Seemai karuvelam’ tree issue crops up at farmers’ meet

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Despite repeated pleas from farmers in the district to clear ‘Seemai karuvelam’ (Prosopis juliflora) trees from water tanks and irrigation channels in the district, the trees are still largely prevalent in the water bodies and have been contributing to depletion of groundwater table.

At the monthly farmers’ grievance day meeting held here on Friday, concerns were raised about presence of ‘karuvelam’ trees in Thenpalanji and Oomachikulam tanks among other water bodies.

“There has been an undue delay in clearing these water bodies despite repeated representations to the Forest Department and district administration.

The Forest Department is in charge of clearing these trees and selling them,” a farmer from Melur said.

Collector L. Subramanian asked the Forest Department to expedite works regarding the same as soon as they received estimates about trees from the Public Works Department (PWD).

District Forest Officer Nihar Ranjan said that while they would take it into consideration, there had been confusion since plantations approved by the Forest Department too were near a few water bodies and should not be cleared. While the water tanks are either under the PWD or the panchayat union, the ‘karuvelam’ trees belonged to the Forest Department and proceeds from the sale was usually treated as revenue for the department.

Proposal

“There is a proposal mooted by the PWD and Forest Department where the latter will soon not have any jurisdiction over the ‘karuvelam’ trees on the tank bed.

Till then the Forest Department will work on clearing the trees from the water bodies,” he said.

Compensation

Nearly Rs. 80,000 was disbursed as compensation to 10 farmers whose crops were destroyed by animals that straying into their fields.

Forest officials said that wild boars had destroyed crops near the foothills of Alagarkoil.

Mr. Ranjan said that disbursal of compensation for six more farmers was under consideration.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:49:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/seemai-karuvelam-tree-issue-crops-up-at-farmers-meet/article7436782.ece

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