Forest dept plants native community saplings under the Kaleshwaram project in Karimnagar

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The Telangana Irrigation Department, on the one hand, putting its heart and soul into making the much-awaited dream Project, Kaleshwaram a reality, the forest department on the other busy adding greener pastures albeit in the non-forest lands given for the Kaleswaram project in Karimnagar district.

The district unit under the supervision of its Additional PCCF Mohan Chandra Pargaien has taken up Compensatory Afforestation in 7 districts covering 2,653.121 hectares of non-forest lands given in lieu of 3,367.139 hac of forest land diverted for Kaleshwaram Project even before its commissioning. 

He has taken up various interventions including the chain-linked fencing to rejuvenate the existing forest suiting local needs besides using innovative techniques such as soil and moisture conservation measures etc. for improving moisture regime.

More than 50% of the project area falls in Karimnagar Circle covering three districts of RajannaSircilla, Jagtiyal and Peddapalli where 1,752.198 hac was handed over to Forest Department in lieu of diverted forest. More than 34 blocks of different areas  at diverse locations in three districts are being taken up for planting for the last one month.

Out of the total target of planting 1,92,000 plants in 34 Blocks, 14,0000  pits have been dug so far and planting has been completed in 1,24,784 numbers in three districts of Karimnagar Circle.

The Challenges involved in planting in these area are scattered locations, Undulating hilly terrain with boulders and rocky outcrops and varied site and soil conditions, unpreparedness of the department (as per plan the planting was to be taken up from 2020 onwards), Hostile terrain  and dealing with areas that were subjected to frequent biotic pressures and degradation.

Keeping all that in view, the department has evolved a strategy to plant native saplings like Neem, Seetahpahal, Vepa, Nemilinara, Rela, Teak etc. besides Ravi, Marri, Juvi that are most suited for these locations.

Apart from planting quality native species of various kinds, another attempt has been made to involve the local villagers from Mudiraj community by planting Seethaphal in selected suitable locations being undertaken under C A plantation programme of Kaleshwaram project mainly in Sircilla district.

Seethaphal once used to be the main source of livelihood for the people belonging to Mudiraj Community but due to rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and infrastructure growth, the areas having good potential for its cultivation are getting shrunk considerably.

This tested method of involving local communities by ensuring their participation in planting Seethapahal (Annonasquamosa) a species is known for its delicious taste and nutritional value the forest department is being taken up in Sircilla district.

The members of local Mudiraj Community from Bonala, Sarampalli, Thimmapur, Damannapet & Baswapur villages took part in planting activity in Bonala block as part of ongoing Haritha Haram IV phase. Around 60 villagers of Mudiraj Societies led by their President Padige Laxmaiah and Mandal Vice President T.Vasnatha Narasimha and TRS party Chinnabonala participated in the planting of Seethaphal in Bonala areas in the presence of APCCF Karimnagar Mohan Chandra Paragien.

The local DFO Sircilla V Srinivas Rao, FRO Sircilla along with their staff supervised the programme. So far around 47, 000 plants have been planted in various locations and another 50,000 are under the process of planting at suitable locations. The plants which are expected to yield after 3-4 years are bound to provide a sustained source of livelihood to these villagers who have promised to take care of the protection and care of these plants in coming years.