November 15

Watershed projects prove successful in Nellore dt.


NELLORE NOV. 14. Nellore district has been making rapid strides in respect of watershed management. The interpretations of satellite imagery carried out by the Department of Space has revealed that 37.61 per cent of the district's geographical area has been under different categories of wastelands.

Implementation of recommendations in the district under Phase-I commenced in 1994 with an outlay of Rs. 4.16 crores for developing an extent of 8,917 hectares within four years. Initially it started like a land development programme. From 1995 onwards the programme proved to be successful in the context of guidelines issued by the Central Government, which called for peoples' involvement right from the planning stage.

A delineated mini micro watershed having an area of about 500 hectares has been treated from ridge to valley in a district. However, in a district like Nellore where big chunks of plain lands were available it is difficult to locate ridge portion with a naked eye and basic expertise is needed to locate the same. Accordingly, contiguous contour trenching is one of the soil and moisture conversation practices where contiguous trenches are dug along the contours. The objective is to conserve fertile surface soil and moisture on hill slopes, to control soil erosion and to improve the ecological balance. This practice was taken up in places like Chittepalli and Chakalikonda. The district has several success stories regarding watershed management.

The poverty-stricken farmers of Mamuduru of Chejerla mandal have developed three acres of unproductive land by planting Casuarina, which fetched them an amount of Rs. 70 lakhs during the 1999 season. Pandrangi is another wasteland situated in the interior of S.R. Puram mandal.

The watershed works like rock-filled dams and checkdams have prevented the regular migration of local villagers. In Chittepalli watershed of Podalakur mandal, soil and moisture conservation practice has improved the groundwater potential substantially. Rachavaripalli is a remote village in Duttalur mandal, citrus was planted in 227 acres and mango in 39 acres benefiting more than 117 farmers. The checkdams constructed here increased the groundwater potential in the surrounding wells, too.