Salem: Emphasis on growing trees in hill areas

Tribals told of impact of global warming on environment

SALEM: Tribal People’s Development Society (TPDS), Kannapadi Hills, near Danishpet here in association with C. P. Ramaamy Ayya Foundation conducted a two-day programme on environment for the tribal villagers of the hills recently.

The speakers explained in detail about the changing environment due to global warming and the fall-out that had started affecting the people who used to live in forests and hills.

Eco-friendly move: Tribal Peoples Development Society conducting an environment awareness campaign in Kannapadi hill village in Salem district recently.

Diseases

They also told them the diseases that would attack not only the humans but also the livestock and crops.

The changes would affect the livelihood of tribals, particularly their women.

To minimize its impact the need for growing trees in hills and forests also was stressed.

Later elocution and essay competitions were held for school students.

Women members of self help groups also had been made aware of their role in the changing scenario.

All of them were told to shun plastic sternly.

It should be converted into a mass movement, they pointed out.

Tree saplings were distributed to the participants at the end of the two-day programme.

G. Revathi, M. Govindaraj, M. Vimalanathan, Valarmathi, M. Mani, J. Saminathan and TDPS Director V. Ganesan spoke on the occasion.

From THE HINDU

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Coffee, pepper cultivation on in Jawadu Hills

The drive is aimed at providing additional income to tribals and prevent migration

Seed beds of coffee, pepper prepared in Kovilur

New crops will be raised only on unutilised portions of land

Tiruvannamalai: Coffee plants and pepper vines are being cultivated in Jawadu hills, the hill known for conventional crops such as ‘samai’ (small millet).

With an aim to provide additional income to the tribal people of this hill and thereby check their migration to the plains seeking employment, a couple of NGOs working in the hill have devised a plan to introduce spices, fruits and coffee to the hills, in coordination with the State Horticulture Department.

Jawadu Tribal Women Development Society, in coordination with the department, has prepared seed beds of coffee and pepper in Kovilur. “About 20 kg of coffee seeds brought from Yercaud have been sowed in the seedbed. It will produce about 50,000 seedlings, which can be transplanted on about 50 acres of land. Likewise, about one lakh pepper cuttings were planted in a seedling bed, which can be replanted on about 100 acres of land,” J. Karunakaran, Horticulture Officer, Tiruvannamalai, told The Hindu.

Both coffee and pepper seedlings prepared in these beds would be ready for plantation in about six months, he said. “As these crops are new to Jawadu Hills, a 10-day training programme is being hosted with the help of NABARD, starting from January 18. Methods of nursery rising and cultivation of these crops are being taught to 30 tribal women.

These crops which require shades will be planted under trees on the lands of the tribals. The new crops will not disturb their conventional crops such as ‘samai’ or paddy. Coffee and pepper crops will be raised only on unutilised portions of land. So, it is likely to give the tribals additional income. “The climate here is also very conducive to such crops,” Mr. Karunakaran said.

“Saplings of eight varieties of fruits and spices, all new to the hills, including Surinam cherry, Rambutan, litchi, Duriyan, nutmeg (Jathi), cinnamon, clove and garcinia have also been distributed to various tribal villages. About 3,300 saplings of these varieties brought from Kallar State Farm were distributed to the tribal people from Aattiyanur, Nachamalai, Nallapattu, Mel Athipattu, etc.,” Mr. Karunakaran said.

Senthil, president of Jawadu People Development Society, another NGO involved in the drive, told The Hindu that people from the plains started purchasing lands in the hill while tribals of the hill move to the plains seeking employment. “We hope these crops keep a check on the trend,” he said.

A.D. Balasubramaniyan From THE HINDU

National Park: 70% of Corbett resorts host parties, races

NEW DELHI: Is Corbett national park, India’s best known tiger sanctuary, becoming a hunting ground for party animals at the cost of real ones? A study commissioned by the Union tourism ministry on Corbett has found that 70% of the resorts around the park are venues for weddings, rain dances, parties, bike races and zorbing rather than for visitors interested in wildlife.

There are 77 resorts in the area with 17 more likely to come up this year alone. Incidentally, the tiger reserve has a ceiling of a maximum of 600 visitors daily.

This rampant commercialisation and mismatch in numbers drawn to Corbett has set off alarm bells within the ministry that is now considering tighter norms for hotels and resorts coming up in ecologically-sensitive places.

The study conducted by the Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa surveyed areas around the 10km periphery of the park in December last year.

“The findings are very worrying. We plan to bring this to the attention of the ministry of environment and forests before Corbett becomes another Sariska. There must be stringent guidelines for commercial establishments,” Sujit Banerjee, tourism secretary, said.

Besides indulging in activities like parties and rain dances, resorts keep bright lights on throughout the night. Turning a blind eye to environmental friendly practices, 31% of the properties dump their waste outside while 26% burn it.

About 94% of the properties are fenced or walled. This has resulted in two animal corridors connecting Corbett with Rajaji national park being blocked. The fencing aside, vehicles and encroachment by villagers displaced by the New Tehri dam have also contributed to choking the corridors that are a lifeline for the animals.

Another worrying point is the fact that of the 77 vehicles plying within the tiger reserve, 26 run on diesel. Among steps being taken to check this disturbing trend, officials said resorts and hotels in fragile ecological zones will now have to take the nod from the tourism ministry before they begin commercial operations. These zones – like national parks, hill stations and coastal areas – will be defined in the new set of regulations. The ministry also plans to conduct surveys around other important national parks like Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh and Kanha.

Corbett National Park is becoming a party zone, posing a hazard to the environment. Besides indulging in activities like parties and rain dances, resorts keep bright lights on throughout the night.

Turning a blind eye to environment friendly practices, 31% of the properties dump their waste outside while 26% burn it. About 94% of the properties are fenced or walled. This has resulted in two animal corridors connecting Corbett with Rajaji national park being blocked. The fencing aside, vehicles and encroachment by villagers displaced by the New

Tehri dam have also contributed to choking the corridors that are a lifeline for the animals.

Another worrying point is the fact that of the 77 vehicles plying within the tiger reserve, 26 run on diesel. Among steps being taken to check this disturbing trend, officials said resorts and hotels in fragile ecological zones will now have to take the nod from the tourism ministry before they begin commercial operations. These zones — like national parks, hill stations and coastal areas — will be defined in the new set of regulations.

From TOI

Dindigul: Dams reach full level

DINDIGUL: All major dams in Palani taluk have reached their full capacity and Varadhamanadhi dam has started overflowing since Tuesday, thanks to the sudden and sharp showers in the past 24 hours.

The entire inflow of 870 cusecs was discharged in to the river from Varadhamanadhi dam.

Storage level in the Palar Porundhalar reservoir reached its brim and Kudiraiyar dam level was inching towards to its total height of 80 feet.

The level crossed 76 feet in this reservoir. Inflow into the Marudhanadhi dam and several tanks near the hilly regions was good. The flow in all streams, including the Silver Cascade on Kodaikanal hill, was also good.

Nilakottai received highest rain and Palani recorded the lowest in the district. The sky was overcast on Wednesday and mild showers were experienced in some pockets.

The worst-affected were the people in Dindigul town. Almost, all prime roads in the town turned slushy and muddy, thanks to the inordinate delay in the completion of underground drainage work. Soil dumped on centre of the road after finishing the work spread on to other parts of the road making it slippery and unfit for riding or driving. Even pedestrians, particularly school children, too faced hardship. North and East Car streets, Main Road, AMC, Salai Road and Railway Station Road and the main road in Begampur were affected.

Total rainfall in the district was 110.4 mm and average rain 12.27 mm only.

From THE HINDU

Tamilnadu: Plea to protect hills of Kanyakumari

Nagercoil: The Nagercoil chapter of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has urged the government to take steps to protect the hills in Kanyakumari district. It has urged the Director of Town Country Planning, Chennai, district administration, departments of forest, and mines and minerals to protect the hills and the wetlands in the district.

Speaking to The Hindu, the co-convener of INTACH, Sumithra Raghuvaran, said that the district was famous for its hills and hillocks. Because of its natural features, Kanyakumari district was under the purview of Hill Area Conservation Authority, according to which hills should be protected. But contrary to this regulation, hills and hillocks were being exploited by private parties. Due to rampant mining, Erachakulam hill, Marunthukottai hill and Maiyakottai hill had been destroyed.

From THE HINDU

Dindigul: 13 watersheds to be developed on Sirumalai hills with community participation

A special gram sabha meeting will be convened on December 15 to discuss its implementation

The community will be vested with powers to maintain these structures, says Dindigul Collector

DINDIGUL: Ten watershed areas in Vadamadurai union and 13 watersheds on Sirumalai hills will be developed with community participation under the Integrated Watershed Management scheme to augment groundwater and enhance agriculture activities.

Sirumalai hills, (eastern ghats)

A special gram sabha meeting will also be convened on December 15 in the respective panchayats to discuss the implementation of the programme.

A total of 10,000 hectares of wasteland will be developed in Sirumalai and other villages, including Pilathu, Thennampatti, Sindhuvarpatti and Iyyalur in Vadamadurai union.

Farmers to be benefited

Farmers will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the scheme, according to officials. Experts and scientists identified these potential areas using remote sensing and GPS, the Collector M. Vallalar said. The district administration has already conducted a special training programme on various uses of GPS and remote sensing for officials. Reclamation of land, construction of soil and stone bunds, rainwater harvesting pits, check-dams, percolation ponds, farm ponds and natural water sources for cattle, desilting of tanks and supply channels, afforestation, fodder cultivation and creation of fruit tree groves will be the prime activities in these watersheds in order to convert wasteland in drought-prone areas and on the hill into cultivable lands.

All these works will be taken up with participation of community only. The community would be vested with powers to maintain these structures, said Mr. Vallalar.

To know the views of local people, a special gram sabha meeting will be convened in the respective panchayats.

All works will be implemented on the basis of views expressed by the community. Landless poor and women would be roped in to form self-help groups as part of this project to enhance their economic status, he said.

From THE HINDU

Karnataka: Perfect Trekking destination which is BR Hills

This picturesque tourist spot is situated on the south eastern edge of Karnataka. It is at a height of 5091 ft and serves as a link between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. Drained by the Cauvery and Kapila rivers, BR Hills is a tourist’s and trekking paradise.

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