Tamil Nadu

Police seeks farmers’ help to prevent soil erosion at firing range

Vellore SP Selvakumar sowing palmyra seeds.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

K. Sollai, 62, a marginal farmer in Balur village near Gudiyatham in Vellore, is busier than usual these days. After finishing routine work — irrigating his paddy field, removing weeds and checking crop growth — he steps out for a long walk on his three hectares of farmland, collecting fallen palm seeds every afternoon. He stores them in a gunny bag near the motor room, before it is picked up by a beat policeman in the evening.

For weeks now, farmers like Mr. Sollai, from the village and its neighbouring hamlets such as Bojanapuram, Charakkal, Chengundram, Gundalapalli, Karkur, Mordona and Pattu in Gudiyatham, have been carrying out the work, voluntarily, to help the local policemen.

The palm seeds were sown along the boundary of the firing range of the Vellore district police in Thalanatham village and a hillock in Vellore, bordering Tiruvannamalai, to prevent soil erosion, by a team of 700 police personnel, led by Superintendent of Police (SP), Vellore, S. Selvakumar, on Saturday. A month and a half of hard work by farmers and officers, mainly from the Armed Reserve wing, had yielded over 5,000 seeds.

“We have been using the firing range for a decade to train our policemen. Soil erosion is a major problem. So we decided to seek help from farmers in Vellore and neighbouring Ranipet districts for the sowing drive,” Mr. Selvakumar told The Hindu. Spread across 83 acres, the firing range trains personnel to handle all kinds of weapons. It helps personnel train themselves at different distances — short (300 yards), medium (500 yards) and long (800 yards).

Botanists said the palmyra tree, with its fibrous root system, is known for its bund-strengthening qualities. “The palm is a water conserving tree, and is also a native species,” said D. Narasimhan, head, Centre for Floristic Research, Department of Botany, Madras Christian College.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 12:40:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/police-seeks-farmers-help-to-prevent-soil-erosion-at-firing-range/article37031477.ece

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