Kancheepuram: Nugumbal, a nondescript village in Cheyyur taluk, in Kancheepuram district, receives many visitors from countries like the US, UK and France. Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and other well-known Indian dignitaries have stepped into this village to know about the successful watershed management by the Nugumbal villagers.
Even during peak summer days, several ponds and wells in this village hold surplus water. Farmers here plan for their third crop in May unlike their cousins in other villages who are unable to cultivate any crop because of water shortage in summer.
The watershed management project funded by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) and Tamil Nadu government and facilitated by Chennai-based National Agro Foundation, a voluntary research organisation, has improved the water table in Nugumbal.
Under the watershed management programme, started in 2009, exclusive watershed management committees have been formed in the villages. With the inputs from experts, farmers engaged themselves in desilting and maintaining the ponds to store rain water. This ensures availability of water even during the summer season. More than 1,000 hectares of farm lands receive water through this project.
Ragupathy Adhikesavan (60) cultivates paddy, banana, vegetables and groundnut in his five acre land in Nugumbal. Not contented with the cultivation, he has now started setting up an integrated farm. “I have a small farm pond in my land and maintain fish seedlings there. All credit goes to the implementation of watershed management programme in our village. Good harvest has become a reality in our village. Many farmers now aim for agriculture allied business and invest for their third crop in a year,” said Adhikesavan.
The information board standing next to the Yekkathamman temple shows the passion of the villagers to improve the water table. They have contributed Rs60,900 out of the total expense of Rs1,11,500 for desilting and building parapet wall for the pond as a part of the watershed project.
Valli Nagappan, one of the farmers in the village, says she has now invested in two acre farm land which she had taken for lease apart from managing her one acre farm. “Due to water shortage, several farmers decided to quit farming. But with the watershed project in our village, the standard of living of farmers has improved in our village,” she said, introducing herself as one of farmers able to take lands on lease.
“I cultivated paddy and vegetables in my farm. Recently, I took a loan of Rs32,000 to buy a cow. I am confident of repaying the loan,” she said....