Tamil Nadu

Dry Ramnad on way to becoming an oasis

District Collector K.Veera Raghava Rao watering a plant at a village in Paramakudi block in Ramanathapuram district. Photo: Special Arrangement

District Collector K.Veera Raghava Rao watering a plant at a village in Paramakudi block in Ramanathapuram district. Photo: Special Arrangement  

In about two to three years, the green cover in the arid district is expected to improve vastly at the panchayat levels, said District Collector K.Veera Raghava Rao here on Saturday.

The district, known as a dry region, is slowly witnessing a silent ‘green’ revolution.

Under the initiative of the Central and State governments, the district had identified poromboke lands in each of the 429 panchayats about seven months ago.

Named as ‘mini forests’ project, the multi-departmental initiative had been slowly witnessing progress.

Explaining the steps to reporters, Mr. Rao said that in each of the panchayats, based on the type of soil, the forest department officials suggested plants to be grown, which included gauva, sapota, vembu among others. By roping in the local workers under the MGNREGA programme, they were given jobs and also entrusted with the task of protecting the plants for sometime from grazing by animals.

The measures gave the local people the task of getting green cover enhanced. Moreover, converting a barren land into a fruit-bearing land would also instil a sense of pride in them, the Collector said and added that native saplings would be raised in each of the mini-forests, where a minimum of 1,000 saplings were planted.

Further, he said that the barren lands were all reclaimed in the last four months. From the nursery, raised exclusively for mini-forest project, the saplings were planted and periodic watering had raised the confidence of the people.

The district administration had targeted to plant two lakh saplings over a period of time which would improve the oxygen levels. The forest cover would also bring in quality in the air and the much-needed green cover would be assured.

Rajamani, a worker watering the plants in Paramakudi block, welcomed the idea and hoped the district would soon bring in more shades and fruits. He suggested that the officials could form SHGs or mini-clusters and engage locals with some seed money through cooperative banks. Thus, the group of members would be accountable for the growth of the plants in each of the village panchayats.

Officials in the District Rural Development Agency said that they had already earmarked funds for the raising of the plants under the MGNREGA project.

A green initiative across 429 panchayats would give a green look to Ramanathapuram, Mr. Rao said.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 12:04:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dry-ramnad-on-way-to-becoming-an-oasis/article31766306.ece

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