Santipur, June 22: Nadia district administration has been mulling to take up a fresh vetiver grass plantation programme as a supplementary measure to protect the erosion prone banks of Hooghly River in Ranaghat and Kalyani subdivision where major chunks of agricultural land have been lost during the past few days due to continued spate of incessant rain.
The Nadia administration, which is the pioneer in the state to use Vetiver grass as a tool to prevent erosion, has asked the irrigation officials to provide feedback on the pilot project implemented in 2015, so that similar projects can be taken up rectifying the loopholes based on the local inputs.
Sources in the irrigation department claimed the pilot project was not quite unsuccessful due to certain shortcomings in implementation and fund crisis.
In last month, during a post Yaas review meeting at Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pointed out the efficacy of Vetiver grass to prevent erosion and also advised the irrigation officials to examine feasibility of planting the grass along the dykes in riverine and coastal areas of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas, where agricultural land suffer damages due to infiltration of saline water due to breaches.
“We have a scarcity of funds. So it is not possible to concrete all embankments. So we should look for alternative solutions like planting vetiver grass as done by Nadia administration”, she said.
The Vetiver grass (Vetiveria Zizanioides), which survives about 35 years, commonly known as “Khus Ghass” has a finely structured mat-like root system that grows about 2-4 meter downward is a tested plant that works as soil binder and thus controls and prevent erosion of soil on river embankment.
During March 2015, Nadia administration had taken up a plantation drive of Vetiver, a perennial Indian bunchgrass widely used by over 100 countries alongside Jalangi, Bhagirathi and Hooghly river embankments. The Rs.33 Crore project was inaugurated by Mamata Banerjee. However, the project planned for the 744 Km stretch, was implemented partially.
Speaking to NfN Nadia DM Shashank Sethi said, “We will take up feedback on the old project. I have told the Irrigation officials to get details of the project and to examine in details”.
“But, vetiver grass plantation is not the only project we are taking to prevent erosion. It will rather be used as a supplementary project. The irrigation officials will take the preventive works as per their SOP and other feasible methods”, Sethi said after visiting several eroded banks under Ranaghat subdivision on Tuesday.
“Today we talked to the people and examined the works already done and at the same time tried to understand the further requirements that can prevent the erosion. There was mixed feedback which we will discuss with the irrigation officials to ascertain the priority. It was a fact finding effort on our part to enhance the information base so as to decide and implement the required job to save the embankments”, DM Shashank Sethi added.