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Barren lands transformed into urban forests

Coimbatore: A piece of barren land in the middle of Muthalipalayam village in Muthugounderpudur panchayat has been converted into a food forest over the course of four years, thanks to the massive tree plantation scheme launched the district rural development agency (DRDA).
DRDA had set up an 11-bed nursery in the village in 2016 to grow 12,000 saplings. After two years, the agency established a Miyawaki forest that has 500 fruit tree saplings, 2,400 nochi plants and 350 saplings of other trees on 3.75 acres with the help of workers engaged in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

“Initially when we decided to plant the saplings, people discouraged us, saying the soil was infertile. They are now surprised that we managed to successfully plant and maintain the trees. We spent Rs 29 lakh to turn the area into a green zone, of which Rs 27.96 lakh was used to pay the workers,” panchayat secretary P Karthikeyan told TOI.

The mini forest now has trees like guava, pomegranate, lemon, almond, custard apple, prickly custard apple, pencil bamboo, rosemary, sandalwood and magilam.

“Fruits from the orchard are given to the workers who are maintaining the forest. We are distributing the saplings grown at the nursery to other panchayats and public for free. We have distributed over 24,315 saplings,” Karthikeyan said.




DRDA had decided to implement the Miyawaki method after struggling for years to protect the saplings planted along the roads under the tree plantation scheme. Between 2017 and 19, the agency set up Miyawaki forests at six villages Somaiyampalayam, Vadakkukadu, Pilichinampalayam, Malaiyadipalayam, Palathurai and Muthalipalayam – that have over 17,500 trees.




“Under the scheme, we have been planting saplings in Miyawaki style in vacant panchayat lands, park sites and along water bodies. The forests have 60% hard wood trees, 30% fruit trees and 10% flowering plants. While the fruit trees attract birds, flowering plants attract honey bees that act as pollinators,” DRDA project director J Rooban Sankar Raj said. “The Miyawaki style has a high success rate as we protect the saplings. When the saplings were planted along the roads, it was difficult to protect them from cattle and people.”




The Miyawaki forest at Palathurai village provides shelter to substantial flora and fauna, said Madukkarai block coordinator V Ramakrishnan. “We have been spotting a lot of honeycombs in the vicinity. More birds, especially peacocks, are frequenting the village, which has become a lot more cooler.”

 

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Rs 170cr allocated to restore Noyyal: Minister
Dec 14, 2020, 04.14 AM IST
Coimbatore: Even as the farmers agitation in New Delhi echoed in the form of sporadic protests in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK and ally BJP continued their efforts to woo the farming community.
Addressing the farmers at a meeting to review works to restore river Noyyal in Coimbatore on Sunday, state local administration minister S P Velumani said that Tamil Nadu had made the highest allocation for agriculture in the state budget in the country this year. “Rs 11,894 crore was allocated for agriculture in budget 2020 – 21,’’ he said, adding that the state also bagged the Skoch award for best practices in agriculture.

Velumani said that the state was witnessing a second green revolution with expansion of agricultural land, improvisation of farming techniques, disbursement of farm loans and subsidies for equipment and ensuring better quality seeds.

“Since he is a farmer, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is implementing schemes aimed at welfare of farmers,’’ Velumani said.

River Noyyal, which was the lifeline of farmers in Coimbatore in the past, was ruined over the years, Velumani noted adding that the AIADMK government has come up with a Rs 230 crore scheme for restoration of the river. “Out of total allocation, Rs 170 crore would be spent in restoring the river in Coimbatore district,” he said.


Once the restoration is done, one lakh acres of land in Kinathukdavu, Singanallur, Thondamuthur and Sulur will benefit, he said. Besides, groundwater will grow in several other parts of the district, he said.


Out of 23 check dams across Noyyal, 18 are being restored under the project while five have already been restored under other schemes.

 

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Seven check dams to be constructed across River Bhavani

Seven check dams that will help recharge groundwater and also ensure that surplus water is optimally used will be constructed across River Bhavani from Bhavani Sagar to Kalingarayan Anicut at ₹ 79.82 crore.


Water released from the dam into the river is used for irrigation purposes and also helps in recharge of wells and borewells. When the dam attains its full reservoir level of 105 feet, surplus water is released into the river that finally enters River Cauvery. Hence, there is a long-pending demand from the farmers and people for constructing check dams so that the water is stored and used during summer.

The Water Resources Department, Bhavani Basic Circle, has floated tender for constructing seven check dams across the River Bhavani at Kombupallam Odai of Kottuveerapalayam village in Sathyamangalam taluk at ₹ 1.57 crore; at Narayana Kombupallam Odai in Athani village in Anthiyur taluk at ₹ 1.57 crore; at Alathukombai village in Sathyamangalam taluk at ₹ 21.13 crore; at Arakkankottaikarai village of Gobichettipalayam taluk at ₹ 15.29 crore; at Vaniputhur village at Kasipalayam in Gobichettipalayam taluk at ₹ 18.94 crore; Kuppandampalayam village in Anthiyur taluk at ₹ 18.61 crore and at another at the same village at ₹ 2.71 crore.

Officials said tender documents would be accepted till 3 p.m. on February 2 and the documents would be opened at 3.30 p.m. Upon issuing the work order, the contractors had to complete the works within 12 months, they added.


Seven check dams to be constructed across River Bhavani
 
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