Dindigul: Gandhigram Trust plans special watershed project

DINDIGUL: A special watershed development project will be implemented by the Gandhigram Trust at Thottanuthu village an estimated cost of Rs.62.56 lakh with community participation. The trust will act as facilitator and only villagers will implement the entire project, in three years.

Under the project, the trust will take up soil and water conservation activities on 1,018 hectares. Other components of the project include soil and water conservation measures in rain-fed areas and community development intervention such as training and demonstration, livelihood support for landless people and rural women in 12 habitations at this village.

Village Watershed Committees will be formed for executing all works. Field bund, field bund outlet, 14 farm ponds, farm pond outlet, farm pond silt trap trench, water absorption trench, agro-forestry, agro-horticulture, pasture development, grass seeding, sunken pond, check weir, loose boulder structures and percolation pond will be created in these habitations.

Income generation activities will be intensified by roping in landless and rural women as part of livelihood support, some prime components of the project. Mushroom cultivation, rearing of country chicken and stall-fed goat and animal feed production will be some of the income generation activities.

Trust Associate secretary K. Shivakumar said that the community would contribute 16 per cent of the total project cost for watershed activities. It will enhance involvement of local watershed community. Separate planning would be done for each and every field according to the needs of farmers in every watershed. The Village Watershed Committee would prepare an action plan for three years and submit it to the Joint Director of Agriculture. The funds will directly go to the water shed Committee for implementation, he added.

“District Watershed Development Agency will monitor the project activities regularly.” Moreover, the funds could not be drawn without the approval of the nine-member village water shed committee, comprising a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary as office-bearers and other members. Members should be chosen from the water shed area only. Besides, 30 per cent of the members would be women.

“We will adopt the approach of ‘ridge to valley’ in executing the project. To begin with, treatment of land in upper reaches will be taken up before taking up development works at lower reaches. Simple and low cost conservation measures will also be adopted in the watershed to enable the community to emulate easily and execute it in other areas, if necessary,”

From THE HINDU

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