Watershed development project gains momentum in Madurai district

The project is funded by NABARD and being executed through NGOs

J. V. Siva Prasanna Kumar

MADURAI: : The watershed development programme in Madurai district is fast gaining momentum thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the district administration and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Madurai. Hardly within a short span of a month, the authorities ensured that three projects were underway in the district and the works are under various stages of progress.

The Collector, D. Raajendiran, has laid special emphasis on completing the project at the earliest and thus help the community at large, an official told The Hindu here on Monday.

The potential sites, one each at the Mathippanur village in Tirumangalam block, Teikulam village in Kallikudy block, and the Modagum village in T. Kallupatti block, were identified by the Madurai District Watershed Development Authority, for promoting the NABARD's watershed development fund project at a cost of Rs.60 lakhs per each village.

These villages are all set to undergo change to provide solution to several environmental problems such as soil erosion, siltation, improper land use etc. and facilitate the improvement of the overall productivity of grains and income of the families in the areas.

The project is funded by NABARD and is being executed through the non-governmental organisations, viz. Indian Agricultural Development Foundation, ASSEFA and Gandhiniketan Ashram, at the three villages respectively, as part of an effort to promote sustained national resource development and to provide succour to ryots and local rural community in overcoming drought or floods.

The project solicits the support of one member per family in the villages to voluntarily work and help complete the project. The thickets would be cleared, water conservation and minor irrigation works taken up and saplings planted under the project.

The district Collector, D. Raajendiran, is the chairman of the Madurai District Watershed Development Authority and the AGM of NABARD, S. Srinivasan, is the member secretary. The heads of the District Rural Development Agency and the Agriculture Department are the members.

Nearly 1000 hectares of land have been selected for each village and the villagers would be paid Rs.6000 per hectare. The funds would be released through the Village Watershed Committees that were formed for the purpose. The entire work would be executed manually so as to provide employment to rural families.

The authorities propose to take up several works like forming field bunds for water conservation, rehabilitation works for supply channels, construction of farm ponds and agro forestry techniques.

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