KOCHI: The practice of using geotextile fabric to increase soil strength is not something new. And the Vadakkekara panchayat, which has so far laid this fabric across 20 wards in the village is leading by example. Of the 941 gramapanchayaths in the state, it is this panchayat in Paravur which turned the inaugural venue for the state wide geotextile paving programme of Kerala government on Monday.
The reason behind this is very simple. Vadakkekara has been at the forefront of this eco-friendly initiative since 2010. From the protection of water channels to the present road strengthening programme near the National Highway, the village has been entwined with geotextile fabric.
The present initiative headed by the Panchayath Secretary Shibu M K sets an example of responsible local governance by coordinating a central government scheme with state owned enterprises. The panchayath successfully integrated the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme with the material inputs provided by The Kerala State Coir Corporation Ltd. “The programme for paving geotextile fabric on sideways of NH17 has generated 2,617 work days for people enrolled under the MGNREGA scheme,” said K M Ambrose, panchayath president.
The globally practiced geotextile paving, which is getting momentum in Kerala prevents soil erosion and enhance soil strength. Arun, marketing team representative of Coir Corporation explained about the laying process. “The first stage is levelling and cleaning the area. Once it is completed, the fabric is fixed with bamboo nails. Later, the filling is placed,” he said.
740 GSM quality geotextile mat is used in the laying process. Heat resistant buffalo grass is used for filling. However, to get better root penetration and soil strength, the panchayat plans to cover this 1,200m stretch with indigenous local variety of grass. Covering both the sides from Moothakunnam Kuriapilly approach road to Labour junction, 4,200 metre square of fabric will be consumed in the process.