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Greenery on hillocks project underway
More than 28 mandals have been covered under the Greening of Hillocks scheme in the district and around 101 hillocks which were once bald have been brought under the greening project in the watershed areas in the district, thanks to the District Water Management Agency (DWMA) which is on a mission to plant 11 lakh plants spread over in 845 hectares of dry land, by the end of March 2018.
Singanamala (Anantapur): More than 28 mandals have been covered under the Greening of Hillocks scheme in the district and around 101 hillocks which were once bald have been brought under the greening project in the watershed areas in the district, thanks to the District Water Management Agency (DWMA) which is on a mission to plant 11 lakh plants spread over in 845 hectares of dry land, by the end of March 2018.
As of now, 10 hillocks have excellent green cover and plantations are spread in 150 acres with 66,000 trees planted. Tree plantation in the hillocks are now in various stages of progress and expected to be completed by the end of March. Integrated development was initiated in 28 mandals.
DWMA had undertaken integrated development of the area promoting dry land horticulture development in the ridge to valley region. DWMA Project Director Jyothi Basu says that the greening project was a unique one. Continuous or staggered contour trenches dug on ridge portions impound rainwater and promote natural regeneration of vegetation.
Planting the upland hilly areas with fodder, fruit and bio-mass species resulted in arresting of soil erosion. The works include treating the drainage lines with rock fill dams, building of boulder structures across to reduce the speed of water. Farm ponds are constructed at the depression point of low contours to collect rainwater which can be used to provide irrigation to rain-fed crops during dry spells.
The sides of the farm pond and bottom are to be lined with cement mortar. It is an assured income yielding intervention in drought prone areas in the district. Farmers in watershed villages have undertaken this activity in large extents of rainfed areas. Check dams are constructed across stream flows to impound rain water that can stay for 5 to 6 months.
Check dams are very useful to increase ground water and rejuvenate the base flows in streams, during summer season. The check dams are also providing water for cattle, wild animals and birds. As part of integrated development, block plantations are raised in village community lands as they will increase the greenery and biomass.
The plantations raised with species like jamun, neem, and tamarind are yielding income to village panchayats. District Collector Veera Pandian has been giving top priority to the greening programme and to the integrated development of watershed areas. The percolation tanks are constructed in all the hillock greening areas to harvest the rain water over a large area.
The borewells situated in the influence zone of a percolation tank, increase groundwater availability. Raising fodder plots is one of the important activities undertaken. Many farmers with irrigation facility set apart at least half to one acre of land to grow fodder feed. The plantation in 100 hillocks have been targeted to be completed by March end.
By Ravi P Benjamin