The Department has been implementing infrastructure development projects availing assistance under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund of NABARD with a view to create required infrastructure backup for land development under various projects. Watershed based Projects and Projects for Drainage Protection and Flood Control are taken up under this sector. The main objective of the scheme is to bring improved and sustainable agricultural productivity in identified watershed area by adopting scientific soil and water conservation activities .The contribution of the projects for enhancement of ground water recharge, mitigation of floods and moderation of droughts in the watersheds are quite substantial.
Currently, the Department is implementing two types of Projects viz. Soil and Water Conservation Projects on Watershed basis and Drainage and Flood Prone Area Protection Schemes. Stone pitched Contour bunds, Graded bunds, Moisture Conservation Pits, Contour/ Staggered/ Bit Trenches for rain water harvesting, Side pitching, Water Harvesting Structures, Farm ponds, Dug out Ponds Retaining Wall, Check Dams Agrostology measures, Live Fencing, Agro forestry etc are the major Soil and Water Conservation interventions taken up under the Watershed Projects. Proper blends of these measures are adopted for achieving aforesaid objectives pertaining to individual Projects.
The Drainage and Flood Prone Area Protection Schemes are generally implemented in the waterlogged paddy fields of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Thrissur districts. These projects aim at the betterment of the local production environment of the concerned areas by providing the required basic infrastructure. Moderation of Floods and related damage, control of saline intrusion are the major areas the Projects attend to for facilitating increased productivity. Paddy is the main target crop. Major items of works taken up under these Projects include Retaining Walls, Sluice, Tractor Bridge with Ramp, Steps, Foot Slabs, Bank Stabilisation with vegetative measures etc.
Land development projects/watershed/Drainage & Flood Protection projects are prepared based on priority required for conservation and location specific request received from farmers, farmers association and representatives of local bodies. These project are approved by Government and NABARD and implementation carried out in a phased manner within a period of 3-4 years.
Irrespective of holding size the farmers are given 90% subsidy for arable land conservation works and 95% subsidy is provided for drainage line treatment works& works carried out in common land. For SC/ST beneficiaries, the subsidy given is up to 95% of the total investment
The Scheme envisages scientific Soil and Water Conservation/management for the stabilisation/reclamation of the land slide prone/affected ecosystems in the hilly terrains of the State. The projects help to stabilize/restore natural ecosystems prone to /affected by phenomena like landslide, landslip etc. This scheme provides 100% financial assistance to the concerned beneficiaries. The scheme has been implemented in selected districts on need basis.
The major works proposed through these schemes are Graded bunds, Agrostology, vettiver planting, diversion channels for the safe disposal of water, stubble mulching, coir geotextiles etc.
100% subsidy is provided to the beneficiaries.
The Department has also been giving thrust to protect the catchment of reservoirs of drinking water schemes in Aruvikkara and Sasthamkotta with a view to prevent soil erosion and protect to the reservoir from siltation. The works proposed would help in the eco regeneration of the catchment. Various location specific conservation interventions like Stone pitched Contour/Graded bunds, Moisture Conservation pits, Terracing, Stream bank stabilization structures, Retaining Walls etc are carried out for the protection of the catchements. Works are being implemented in Perilla watershed and Sasthamcotta catchment Part (Unit 4, 22 &23) in a phased manner subject to the budgetary availability.
The Scheme is funded by the State Environment Department where 100% subsidy is given for the works.
The training and extension centre of Soil Conservation viz. Institute for Watershed Development and Management, Kerala (IWDM-K) at Chadayamangalam has been imparting the required know-how in the field of Participatory Integrated Watershed Management and the principles and practices of integrated scientific soil and water conservation treatments to various target groups including selected people's representatives of the local self governments. Also the Centre takes care to impart necessary refresher coaching to the Department staff for improving the service quality of this Government organization. All these trainings are helpful in equipping a considerable cross section of the society with adequate knowledge in the principles and practices of Integrated Watershed Development exercise.
Besides, the Centre been designated as the Programme Study Centre (PSC) for the conduct of one year Diploma course on Watershed Management, one year Post Graduate Diploma course in Plantation Management and six months certificate course on Water Harvesting and Management in collaboration with IGNOU. Four batches of 115 students have undergone the course at IWDM-K, Chadyamangalam.
As a part of the promising initiatives from the Government of Kerala in the area of e‑governance, the Soil Conservation Department too has expedited necessary steps to bring all its subordinate offices under a computer network. Minimum required no. of computer systems have been installed in all the Soil Conservation Offices and it has proved to be very effective in improving the service quality and efficiency of the department. NIC has developed the required software for facilitating online monitoring of activities for the Department.
During 2015-16, sanction has been received to conduct concurrent and post project evaluation of ongoing projects in collaboration with scientific research institution like ICAR under this scheme. The project has been awarded to CPCRI, Kasargod.
In order to mitigate agrarian distress in the fragile ecosystems of Kuttanad, Upper Kuttanad and Onattukara region and to sustain and restore ecological stability, this programme was introduced as a part of the Kuttanad Package funded by 13th Finance Commission of GOI. The Project gives emphasis for various water conservation activities aimed at ensuring potable water for domestic use and irrigation purposes. The various activities devised under the programme include renovation of wells, ponds, well curbing, planting of vettiver, supply of medicinal and horticultural plants etc. Works under first phase sanctioned for an amount of Rs 15.25 crores and second phase sanctioned for an amount of Rs.25.20 crores are progressing in the three districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. 100% subsidy is provided to the beneficiaries.
As per the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission for Mitigation of agrarian distress in Idukki district, a project for Infrastructure Development for augmenting cool season vegetable and fruit production in the Vattavada & Kanthaloor panchayaths of Idukki district has been approved and under implementation by the Department availing assistance from State Horticulture Mission under RKVY. The Projects viz. Project for Infrastructure Development in Kanthalloor Grama Panchayat for augmenting cool season vegetable production sanctioned for an amount of Rs 89.66 lakhs and Project for Infrastructure Development in Vattavada Grama Panchayat for augmenting temperate fruits and cool season vegetable production sanctioned for an amount of Rs 96.79 lakhs is being implemented in the State from 2013-14.
The State Level Sanctioning Committee of RKVY for 2014-15 had approved the projects for Mitigation of drought in Mullankolly and Pulpally panchayat for an amount of Rs.200.40 lakhs and that of Poothadi panchayat in Wayanad District for Rs.123.70 lakhs as per NMSA norms. The interventions proposed under the project is construction of water harvesting structures and farm ponds. The works are progressing in the project area.
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) seeks to address issues regarding ‘Sustainable Agriculture’. NMSA cater to key dimensions of Water use efficiency, Nutrient Management and Livelihood diversification through adoption of sustainable development.
The project has three major components; Integrated Farming System (Agriculture Department) Resource Conservation (Department of Soil Survey and Soil conservation), Live stock based farming system (Department of Animal Husbandry).
During 2014-15, the Department of Agriculture, Soil Survey & Soil Conservation, and Animal Husbandry Department has submitted a proposal in three districts, based on a cluster approach with block as the development unit. In Kannur District-3 clusters in blocks of Panoor , Kuthuparambu and Thaliparambu, in Wayanad District -4 clusters in blocks of Sulthanbathery, Mananthavady and Kalpetta and in Thrissur District-2 clusters in Ollukkara block were selected. The total project proposal was for 1000 lakhs out of which the Department of Soil Survey and Soil Conservation will implement projects worth Rs 239 lakhs under Resource conservation. The works under the scheme are progressing.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) has been formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation and improving water use efficiency in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities. The Department of Soil Survey & Soil Conservation is also involved in implementation of the project. The Department has prepared the Annual Action Plan for the current financial year and has submitted the same for approval. On obtaining necessary sanction, the scheme will be implemented in the project area.
Providing technical support for implementation of watershed development programmes
The department is providing technical support service for the implementation of Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWMP) projects in the State through preparation of Detailed Project Reports and evaluation. The department is also providing watershed maps and soil maps to various user agencies.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of NWDPRA for the development of rainfed areas is being implemented in the State since VIII Plan period. During XI Plan period the project activities were taken up in 31 sub watersheds comprised in 134 micro watersheds. Holistic development of the watershed area with proper natural resource management activities through soil conservation measures, revival of the agrarian sector with improved production and productivity were the major objectives of the programme. Apart from Natural Resource Management, income generating activities under Farm Production System and Livelihood Support Initiatives for the landless were also included under the projects.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of River Valley Project Kabini was under implementation in the catchment of Kabini River of Wayanad district since 1998-99. The principle objective of the scheme is to prevent siltation in the reservoirs of hydel dams constructed across Kabini River and to prevent soil erosion from the catchment of Kabini river in Kerala Portion. The assistance for the project under Macro management in Agriculture (MMA) Scheme has been stopped by the Central Government. Hence steps have been taken for finding alternate source of funds through RKVY, NMSA etc for saturating the already selected & executed priority watersheds of the district.
Government have accorded administrative approval for 13 check dam projects under Special Rehabilitation package for Farmers of Distress Districts in Wayanad district at an estimate cost of Rs 11 crores. The major objective of the scheme was to reinforce the drainage lines of selected watersheds for enhancing the ground water recharge and provide water for improving agricultural production. The major items of works implemented are check dams of various sizes, Loose Boulder Check Dams, Concrete Check Dams etc.
The project implemented by the Department of Soil Survey & Soil Conservation in collaboration with the State Tribal Department at an outlay of Rs 8.32 crores, aims at eco restoration of the vulnerable habitats of the 78 tribal colonies in the districts of Malappuram, Palakkad, Thrissur, Wayanad and Kasargode. The funding assistance of the project is through the 13th Finance Commission. The main constraints of the area to be addressed includes rapid degradation of soil and water resources, unavailability of safe drinking water, threat from wild animals and fragile ecosystem. The treatments undertaken for natural resource management including Bunding, terracing, moisture conservation pits, agrostological measures, Loose Boulder Check Dams, Retaining walls, construction of pond, water harvesting structures, spring development, side protection walls, afforestation, boundary protection etc. These works helped to build up the infrastructure base of the project area and in the socio economic development of the backward tribal community.