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Officials visit project sites, see firsthand work at the grassroots

A four-day exposure visit was facilitated from April 3 to 7 for a delegation of eight administrators from Rajasthan State administrative departments to understand the key outcomes of the Water Security and Climate Adaptation (WASCA) project sites in Tamil Nadu. IAS officers Pratap Singh, Abhishek Surana and Dipendra Singh Rathore were the main guests. The objective of the visit was to acquire planning skills and a practical understanding of the composite water resource management (CWRM) and GIS (geographic information system) work processes carried out through the WASCA Project in Tiruvannamalai and Ramanathapuram Districts.

On April 3, the team visited the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) Office in Chennai. Rengalakshmi R., director of Ecotechnology, and Nagarajan, head, GIS, briefed the process and outcomes of the WASCA Project as well as on the CWRM tool, online tool, and web portal. The visitors travelled to Tiruvannamalai District on April 4, and went to the community farm pond and saw the greening of hillocks (GoH), massive tree plantation, contour continuous trenches, and a recharge shaft. In addition to discussing the schedule, method, and budget for the projects, they also discussed the possibility of adopting the GoH programme in Rajasthan. The team visited a model nursery in Sananandhal Gram Panchayat, where all necessary infrastructure is integrated including vermin-composting and silvi-pasture to produce one lakh saplings annually.

Ramanathapuram District was the next stop, and on April 6 and 7, they explored the district nursery, river bund stabilisation through the Miyawaki plantation method, horticulture park, and floriculture park. They observed grey-water management through community and individual soak pits, collection and segregation methods at the household level, as well as segregation sheds for degradable and non-degradable waste. During the visit, they saw a community TANKA – a Rajasthan model for rainwater harvesting for drinking water, and made recommendations for minor modifications to improve effectiveness.

The team met with Johny Tom Varghese, Ramanathapuram District Collector, the additional collector (Development), block development officers, the presidents and secretaries of village panchayats and understood more about the implementation of WASCA-village-level plans, livelihood programmes, the convergence of government schemes like MGNREGS, and financial mobilisation for nurseries and forests. The district authorities also provided information on the budget allocation under MGNREGS, income generation for panchayats, and the role of women SHGs in the project. They also visited the Thadanenthal Panchayat Level Livelihood Activity Centre and SHG product sales outlets.

(Courtesy: MSSRF)