SIVAGANGA: It is simple to cut down a tree, but little do people realise that it is even simpler to plant another. All one needs is the willpower and patience to see it grow, which is exactly what Mukkudi village panchayat in Sivaganga district has been doing through its a sustainable green initiative. The panchayat has employed about 400 MGNREGA workers from Mukkudi, Sengulam, and Paraiyankulam villages, to plant one lakh nurseries, maintain a mini forest, cultivate various vegetables and fruits, and other organic pesticides from decomposed waste. Each day 30 persons are put to work.
According to K Muthaiya, the village panchayat president, the initiative is the brain child of District Collector P Madhusudhan Reddy. It not only provides employment to villagers there, but also develops agriculture-related works in the region. “To carry out the task, a 5.5 acre land, covered with Karuvelam trees, was identified in the village. The workers cleaned up the area in a week’s time and made the land suitable for their work,” said Muthaiya.
Detailing about the project, Muthaiya said that they are preparing one lakh nurseries using non-hybrid seeds, which will be planted on both sides of the roads, covering nine kilometers. In the same stretch, they are also maintaining a mini forest of 1,200 plants. The president recalled that a similar mini forest project in Ramanathapuram had yielded a positive result as the average rainfall of the locality got increased.
According to a recent resolution passed in the panchayat, saplings should be given as gifts in family functions, more saplings need to be planted near waterbodies, cultivated items should be sold to the residents in order to generate revenue, and the beneficiaries of any government scheme should maintain at least five trees.M Selvakumar, overseer of Thirupuvanam block, said the panchayat will set an example for other panchayats and panchayat unions. “The Collector has also ordered each panchayat union to maintain at least 10 mini forests,” he said.