Post-calamity, soil to go under the scanner

With flood waters receding, the soil in agrarian and landslide-prone areas is set to go under the microscope.

Published: 25th August 2018 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2018 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With flood waters receding, the soil in agrarian and landslide-prone areas is set to go under the microscope. The State Soil Survey and Soil Conservation Department is gearing up to conduct a detailed study of the soil in locations across the state where landslides have occurred. The study will be conducted in collaboration with the ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP), Nagpur.

“We already have soil profiles up to five metres depth for the entire state,” Justin Mohan, director, State Soil Survey and Soil Conservation, and director-in-charge, Agriculture, told Express.“The new data accruing from the study will be correlated with the existing information. The areas where landslides have occurred during the recent floods will be mapped. The idea is to see how we can prevent such incidents in the future.” The department has already held discussions with Surendra Kumar Singh, director, NBSS & LUP, on the proposed collaboraton.

In the long run, the results of the study are also expected to aid the government’s efforts at scientific rehabilitation in landslide-prone regions of the state. But soil-wise, a bigger challenge awaits the Agriculture Department which has already reported flood-induced crop loss to the tune of over Rs 1,000 crore.

Top soil - which is also the most fertile portion of the soil stratum - in most of the flood-hit regions is estimated to have been washed away. “It takes a 1,000 years to form one inch of top soil. The fact that top soil has been washed away will pave way for reduced production in agriculture,” Justin said.

The effects of this flood-related phenomenon remain to be seen. On the other hand, there is a chance that Kuttanad - the agrarian region in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts that has taken a severe beating in the floods - may have benefited soil-wise. “Since it is a low-lying region, the top soil from the high ranges is likely to have settled here which could benefit crop productivity,” he pointed out. But anything definite can be said about such a possibility only after the next cropping season. Sowing will start in September.
In a bid to make up for the lost paddy crop, the Agriculture Department plans to launch paddy cultivation in 30,000 hectares in Kuttanad.


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