This palm grove in Pandikulam is the cynosure of all eyes now

Minister for Environment Siva V. Meyyanathan inspects the palm trees raised at Pandikulam in Pandikudi village in Pudukottai district on Saturday.  

A remote village in Pudukottai district and a 72-year-old farmer have garnered public attention for having raised a lush palm grove with nearly 10,000 trees in the village tank at a time when the government is seeking to give a push to raising palm trees across the State.

Nearly half of the sprawling tank, Pandikulam in Pandikudi village in Aranthangi panchayat union, is densely populated with palm trees now, thanks to an initiative of a visionary farmer, M. Thirupathi, and his then young friends, who took up a plantation drive in the rain-fed area over three decades back.

The palm seedlings were planted in 1985-86 by Mr. Thirupathi, with the help of young village children, under the auspices of a village welfare club that he had started in his youth, naming it after the famous Tamil poet, Bharathiar. “We used to organise sports and other events for school children under the auspices of the Bharathiar Narpani Mandram. At one stage, we felt that we should do something that would bring longterm good for the village and hence decided to take up tree planting,” Mr.Thirupathi, a Class V dropout, told The Hindu.

“We chose to plant palm seeds as other tree species would require maintenance and protection. I and the children collected the seeds from some old palm trees in the village and planted them in the village tank for two consecutive years. Today, nearly half of the 300-acre tank is populated with the fruit-bearing trees while the other half has some water. There are about 8,000 full-grown trees on the higher grounds of the tank and another 2,000 young ones, planted about 15 years back, on its banks,” Mr. Thirupathi said.

Apart from local residents, those from neighbouring villages also visit the ‘panankadu’ to harvest the fruits and the palymra leaves for free. “We don’t stop them. A group of youths from some neighbouring villages recently visited our village to collect palm seeds and on finding the lush grove started spreading news of its existence,” Mr. Thirupathi said.

Minister visits

Minister for Environment Siva V. Meyyanathan, who represents the Alangudi constituency in the district, also came to hear about it and made it a point to visit the village on Saturday. He interacted with Mr. Thirupathi and other villagers and appreciated their far-sightedness.

“We placed a few demands before him and sought his help in producing value-added palm products and marketing. He has assured to help us,” Mr.Thirupathi said. Mr. Meyyanathan pointed out that the Agriculture Minister had announced that 70 lakh palm seeds would be planted in the State this year and added that the 10,000 palm trees in the village could yield about one lakh seeds which can be distributed to the entire Alangudi constituency.

He promised an approach road to the tank and steps to remove the ‘seema karuvelam’ trees from the tank and clear silt accumulation on its inlet channels. He also inaugurated work on laying an approach road to the village burial ground at a cost of ₹7.18 lakh.

“We are a small and peaceful village where about 120 families live harmoniously. I am happy that the village has caught the attention of outside world due to our panankadu and the government is giving a push to protect and raise palm trees,” Mr. Thirupathi said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 12:56:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/this-palm-grove-in-pandikulam-is-the-cynosure-of-all-eyes-now/article36406194.ece

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