Agriculture Lands are poisoned by textile processing units

Kadaiyampatti village families’ plight

Unproductive land:Indiscriminate discharge of effluents has severely affected the agricultural activities of families in Kadaiyampatti near Bhavani. — PHOTO:M. GOVARTHAN

ERODE: The families depending on the income from agriculture in Kadaiyampatti village, near Bhavani, are slowly quitting their profession as the textile processing units in the area are poisoning their lands by discharging chemical effluents.

Huge amount of untreated effluents are being let into the cultivable land, vacant space and water carrying channels. “The effluents got stagnated on the land and percolated deep into the ground, poisoning the soil and the ground water,” people in the village point out.

The agricultural productivity has come down drastically. The soil has become unproductive.

“There is a sharp fall in the crop yield. Agriculture is no longer fetching good income for us. Already a significant number of people in the village have quit farming and started selling their lands,” K.R.Palanisamy, a farmer in the village says.

What is more bothering is that the textile processing units are buying these lands and letting out effluents into them.

“All the nearby lands are affected due to this practice,” farmers said.

Environment

“The entire environment in the village is polluted. Children and women fall ill very often. A significant number of people have already moved to Bhavani and Erode,” farmers point out. Farmers, who made repeated representations to the authorities concerned earlier, have now stopped complaining.

“There is no point in complaining as officials at the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the district administration remain mute spectators. They know that we are suffering at the hands of textile processing units. We have complained umpteen times to the Collector at the grievances redressal meeting. But still no fruitful steps have been taken up to shutdown these units,” farmers lament.

“It seems the authorities want to see all of us quit farming and give way for the textile processing units to pollute the environment more,” villagers charge.

Officials, when contacted, maintained that they were taking action against the textile processing units, which were violating the rules.

“If authorities’ shutdown a unit, the machineries are shifted to another building to start a new unit and continue to pollute the environment.

The Central and State governments should bring in an effective solution to this issue and protect the agriculture,” farmers demand.

S. Ramesh – From THE HINDU

Project for restoration of water bodies to be over by August

Being implemented in Perambalur district with World Bank aid

PERAMBALUR: The Irrigated Agricultural Modernisation and Water Bodies Restoration and Management (IAMWARM) project now being implemented in Perambalur district with World Bank assistance will be completed by August this year.

Official sources told The Hindu on Saturday that as many as 33 tanks and nine anicuts were taken up for renovation in Perambalur district at a cost of Rs.5.36 crore under the IAMWARM project and 60 per cent work had so far been completed in the district.

The project in Perambalur district benefits a total ayacut of 3,006 hectares and about 48,000 metres length of tank bund will be strengthened and about 43,700 metres length of supply channels is being repaired. Nine sluices will be reconstructed and 16 weirs repaired.

The sources pointed out that the entire project was being implemented with the combined efforts of the water resources, agriculture, agricultural engineering, horticulture, agricultural marketing, animal husbandry and fisheries departments and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Rehabilitation of tanks, anicuts and supply channels, formation of water users association, introducing alternative crops, precision farming, micro irrigation system, drip and sprinkler irrigation, formation of farm ponds and growing fish, organic farming and system of rice intensification (SRI) method of paddy cultivation are the works being implemented under the project.

From THE HINDU

It is time to act now and do something to save agriculture

A Mechanical Engineering degree from an Indian Institute of Technology is a passport to a wide horizon of opportunities for any student. But for R. Madhavan, who passed out of IIT-Madras in 1986 and took up farming as an industrial enterprise, it was a means to redefine the role of engineers. From being considered a fitting candidate for psychiatric counselling to an inspirational figure, he has come a long way. He spoke to Ajai Sreevatsan recently about his journey.

“In India, food is so expensive. Nobody can afford food. Poor families spend 70 per cent of their monthly earnings on food,” says R. Madhavan. “Technology has to be used to improve productivity. The cost per unit has to come down. Educated youth should take up agriculture as an enterprise and start value adding in villages through processing centres. Best of the brains should look at agriculture.”

But unfortunately in India, he says, agriculture is considered a lowly occupation and lack of technological intervention means we produce less than other countries in spite of our natural endowments.

“Agriculture is a science. Each plant is an industry. It is a life,” he added. Having left his well paying job with ONGC in 1993 and using all the money he had saved to buy six acres in Chengalpattu, he set out to prove exactly that – with the application of science, much of the drudgery and misery associated with farming can be overcome.

“At first, it was extremely difficult. There was no technology and nobody had practical information. All that the university departments could offer me were photo copies of books. How do you do farming with that?” asks Mr. Madhavan.

Eventually he learnt his ropes through trial and error and by devising a concept which he calls e-farming. He corresponded with an agronomist based in California – sending him pictures of crop growth, putting queries about pest control and then adapting solutions to Indian conditions.

The experience was an eye-opener he says. “I never realised so much of science is required in farming.” For example, 13 elements have to be properly balanced for a particular soil to be suitable for cultivation. I religiously sent samples to the district soil testing laboratory. But I soon realised that without even analysing, they were giving me a photo report copy assuming that soil samples from a particular district will have the same composition. That is like saying if you come from Tambaram, you have cancer.”

According to him, the disconnect between agricultural universities and farmers is vast. “Students are not being taught how to farm. They are being taught how to get a certificate. Farmer does not know why agriculture universities exist.”

Pointing out that 46 per cent of children in India suffer from malnutrition and we are worse off than Sub-Saharan Africa in child malnutrition he says the time to act is now and something urgent must be done to agriculture for the sake of future generations.

From THE HINDU

Palani: Wild elephants destroy crops

PALANI: Several acres of standing crops, including perennial crops, near Sattaparai were destroyed when two wild elephants ran amuck in agriculture fields on Sunday. The elephants came down from the reserve forests in lower Palni hills and raided maize field and other farms.

When villagers tried to drive them into forests from the maize field, the angry elephants entered into neighbouring coconut and guava farms and uprooted several trees. Eye witnesses said that the elephants were confused and irritated as villagers surrounded them and tried to drive them in all directions. With persistent threat from all corners, these elephants ran from one corner to another corner of the field destroying crops.

Moreover, live electric fence around some farms too angered these wild animals. These animals have been camping in the farms near the village since Saturday night. They were standing just half kilometre away from Sattaparai-Ayakudi main road. Vehicle movement was also stopped fearing that the animal could attack people at any time.

But no forest officials came to the spot till Sunday evening. Having tired of contacting forest officials, local people have been struggling to drive these wild animals in an unorganised manner.

If forest officials do not come to their help, these elephants will destroy several acres of maize crop, a major crop in Palani taluk, farmers said.

The sudden raid by the wild animals was not new to several villages near Ayakudi and other areas along lower Palni hills. “We had appealed to forests officials to install solar fence or dig a pit along reserve forests to prevent entry of wild animals into villages. We will incur a huge loss when these animals stay in agri-field for a single night,” farmers said.

When the mating season starts, the quantum of destruction will be more, they said.

From THE HINDU

Tamilnadu: Project to study climate change on Agriculture

COIMBATORE: With climatic conditions playing a crucial role in agriculture, a project to study how the sector is affected by climate change is currently on in the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University with the area of focus being the Cauvery basin.

The ClimaRice project funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, was aimed at sustaining rice production under changing climatic conditions in Cauvery basin. TNAU scientists in collaboration with International Pacific Research centre, Hawaii and BIOF ORSK, Norway, are working on the project, University Vice-Chancellor Mr P Murugesa Bhoopathi said.

The project, which was originally sanctioned in Jan 2008 for two years, has since been extended upto November 2012, with a budget of Rs.4.15 crore and a Climate Control Chamber at a cost of Rs.60 lakh has been set up in the University, he said.

The project integrates all aspects of climate change in agriculture including adaptation, mitigation and socio economic components.

In addition, various adaptation and mitigation measures including water and nutrient management, microbial technologies to minimise methane emission from the rice fields have also been developed for dissemination, he said.

The project would result in generating a standard methodology to address climate change related issues with specific reference to agriculture and this standard protocol would be useful to other similar regions to develop measures to address the vulnerabi lities within the changing climate, Mr Bhoopathi said. – PTI

From BUSINESS LINE