Tamilnadu-Namakkal: 16 watersheds created to boost rainfed agriculture

The scheme insists on Participatory Rural Appraisal exercise 

NAMAKKAL: To boost production under rainfed agriculture, 16 watersheds at an outlay of Rs 57.03 crore have been created in 9,505 hectares in Tiruchengode taluk in the district under the National Watershed Development Programme in Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA) of the Union government.

As the bulk of rural poor are living in rainfed areas, the government has accorded highest priority to the holistic and sustainable development of rain-fed agriculture through Watershed Development approach based on the twin concepts of Integrated Watershed Management and Sustainable Farming System and also creation of sustained employment opportunities for the rural community including the landless.

Water Resource Development scheme

Water Resource Development scheme

These watersheds in Tiruchengode covering 30 villages will be executed by the Project Implementing Agency (PIA) comprising of an Assistant Executive Engineer, Agricultural Engineering Department and Assistant Director of Agriculture, Agriculture Department, Tiruchengode.

To prepare the project report, the scheme also insists on a strong Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise.

NGOs invited

To assist and carry out the PRA exercises, two non-governmental organisations have also been invited to take part.

A PRA exercise meeting was carried out in Karumapuram watershed recently in which the President of the Karumapuram Panchayat, N. Jagannathan, along with local farmers took part.

The people shared their views with officials and emphasised on the local knowledge. People’s own appraisal was sought, analysed and later would be put into practice.

The exercise meeting widely discussed many problems, observed the facts directly on the field and discussed the solutions with the affected people.

The concepts of better utilization of available resources and the need to identify and prioritise the needs of locals were discussed.

Social mapping and Natural Resources mapping were constructed on the ground by the villagers in front of the Karumapuram Panchayat Office to offer an impression of the social and physical lay-out of the village as perceived by the villagers themselves.

After completion of all activities, each watershed development project was expected to achieve various measures for sustainable farming including development of drainage lines, participation of user groups in arable and non-arable lands, maintenance of assets etc.

Orientation

Orientation was given to improve their knowledge and upgrade technical/ management and community organisational skills to a level that was appropriate for the successful discharge of capabilities.

The PRA meeting was attended by officials. S. Durai, Joint Director of Agriculture, Namakkal presided over the PRA meeting.

A. Prabaharan, Deputy Director of Agriculture, A. Krishnamoorthi, Assistant Executive Engineer, District Watershed Development Agency, B. Muralidharan, Assistant Director of Agriculture and K. Ramachandran, Agricultural Officer were also present. Villagers took part in a social mapping exercise of their village.

From THE HINDU