The Telegraph
Monday , September 27 , 2010
 
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Dry blocks to go green

Jamshedpur, Sept. 26: The Dhalbhum division of the state forest department and city-based NGO, Kalamandir, are set to start “entry point” activities to kick off a five-year watershed project that aims to resolve water shortage in the parched villages of Bahragora and Dumaria blocks in East Singhbhum.

A.T. Mishra, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Dhalbhum, said the forest department has already received Rs 12 lakh for the launch of the project in Bahragora.

“The entry point activities would involve awareness programmes that the forest officials would initiate among villagers, who often tend to reject development projects due to lack of knowledge and apprehension,” Mishra said.

In the first phase of the watershed project, to be carried out under the Integrated Water Management Programme by the end of December, the officials would involve people from 54 villages.

“We have already received funds for the first phase. Now, we will draw villagers’ participation and try and convince them by means of street plays, setting up greenhouses and nurseries, and mending damaged tube wells,” the DFO said. Once the first phase is completed, the core project would follow, he added. Measures such as construction of drains and ponds, identification of suitable plants and improving a depleted groundwater to enrich the arid soil are on the cards.

Meanwhile, Kalamandir, has also received funds for the watershed project in Dumaria block. According to sources, the NGO has engaged a team of experts from Jadavpur University to prepare a detail project report for soil testing in 32 villages in the block. A senior official of Kalamandir revealed that a team of professors from Jadavpur University’s department of soil conservation had recently visited Dumaria to study the soil.

“The watershed programme will come to its final shape only after the experts from Jadavpur University submit the detailed project report to a state level nodal agency. The report will contain details of the soil in the 32 villages and recommendation of suitable plants,” said the NGO official. The state-level nodal agency works as a liaising agency between NGOs and the forest department.

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