108.35 acres of wasteland to be developed

BOON TO FARMERS: Sunflower, an oilseed crop, grown in a wasteland near Ettayapuram in Tuticorin district. Photo: N. Rajesh  

R. Vimal Kumar

By adopting cluster-based approach, says Tuticorin Collector By adopting cluster-based approach: Collector

Tuticorin: The district administration will develop 108.35 acres of wasteland, distributed to 71 landless farm labourers under free land scheme, into cultivable land, adopting a `cluster-based' approach before the end of current fiscal.

The area identified under the project, situated at Kovilpatti, Ettayapuram and Sattankulam blocks, was divided into nine clusters, with each bunch having land spread over 10 to 16.75 acres, owned by a group of six to 14 farmers.

"In the first phase, we had taken up the conversion of wasteland at four clusters identified at Chettikurichi and Cinnamalaikundru, and during the final phase development works would be carried out at five clusters situated at Pidaneri, Manchanayakanpatti and Nambipuram villages," Collector R. Palaniyandi told The Hindu .

Of the Rs. 27.01 lakh earmarked for the cluster-based activities, Rs. 3.37 lakh would be utilised for land development, Rs. 2.74 lakh for planting various crops, Rs. 7.18 lakh for establishment of borewells at the rate of one for every cluster, Rs. 5.70 lakh for setting up irrigation systems, and Rs. 8 lakh for construction of two open wells at Nambipuram under Ettayapuram block.

"Under land development component, we would shape the land after clearing the entire wildly grown Prosophis Juliflora plants and plough it using tillers before planting the crops," said N. Pandiarajan, Project Officer, District Watershed Development Agency.

To augment irrigation, micro irrigation systems would be established, once the water sources like wells were constructed.

Dr. Palaniyandi said that cluster-based approach to develop land would be useful to farmers for judiciously using water resources and increasing profitability."