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Government Of Assam Majuli District

Soil Conservation

  • INTRODUCTION

    Soil Erosion is a major problem facing the state, which is more dominant in the areas where shifting cultivation is practiced. In the tribal areas or the sixth schedule districts of the state wherein the primitive form of agriculture or shifting cultivation is practiced, the need to study the growing problem has been long felt. In the year 1953, at the request of the State Government and a section of tribal leaders, a preliminary study was undertaken by the Inspector General of Forests, Govt. of India and the Agricultural Commissioner, Govt. of India. Based on the recommendation of the experts, a pilot project to tackle the problem of diminishing soil fertility of the shifting agricultural lands was undertaken in the Garo Hills in the year 1954.The experts pointed that the problem of soil erosion was not so significant in these areas as was that of diminishing soil fertility. Further, it was pointed that integrated land use could solve the problem of diminishing soil fertility. 

    The integrated land use recommended was that the top and upper slopes should be afforested to reduce soil wash and preserve streams flow, the middle slopes should be used for horticultural purposes and the slopes and valley bottoms be shaped for permanent staple food cropping. It was suggested that simultaneously efforts for restoration of the jhummed fields be initiated by raising leguminous crops viz; wattle (Acacia Mollesima var durrans) in the freshly abandoned jhummed land. Acacia Mollesima var durrans has a maturity period of 8-9 years but could be harvested earlier also. The crop being leguminous, it helps in increasing the soil nitrogen content as also retention of soil moisture. The idea was that when the land was to be jhummed as per the cycling jhumming, these wattle trees could be cut down, the bark could be used for tanning and the stems burnt to get wood ash. But the experimental wattle cultivation in the three centres in the Garo Hills revealed that the crop could not be grown at these low elevations. Therefore this part of the recommendations was not fruitful and had to be abandoned.

    In another part of the recommendation concerning horticultural crops, it was decided to take up cultivation of cashew nut, black pepper, Para rubber, coffee etc. at three centres in the Garo Hills on a pilot basis. As the tribal areas are poorly connected and marketing of perishable horticultural crops such as pine apples, banana etc. would be difficult, on perishable cash crops were selected.

    The three selected centres where the pilot project was undertaken showed considerable growth, which encouraged the formation of a separate forest division, under the forest department to take up trial cum demonstration centres in other Sixth Schedule Districts. Centres were opened in the United Mikir-North Cachar Hills District, the Khasi and Jaintia Hills and the Mizo District to cover a wide range of elevations, soil and temperatures, humidity and rainfall conditions. Gradually more Forest Division for Soil Conservation works were opened till by 1958, one Forest Division was created for this work in each of the Sixth Schedule Districts.

    By the year 1959, the work had expanded sufficiently and it was decided to constitute a separate Department to conduct soil conservation works. The Chief Conservator of Forests was also designated as the Director of Soil Conservation. In 1960 Soil Conservation work was extended to areas outside the Sixth Schedule Districts and a Lower Assam Soil Conservation Division was constituted. Further encouraged by the prospects of cultivation of certain non perishable crops, a loan-cum-subsidy scheme was initiated for cashew nut, coffee and black pepper. As per the scheme, half the estimate cost of creating small scale plantations of the tribals was granted as subsidy and the other half was treated as loans recoverable in easy installments when the plantations begin yielding harvests. The cashew nut was to be grown primarily in freshly abandoned jhum lands so that these orchards would provide permanent soil cover and at the same time yield incomes. While owing to lack of technical personal at lower levels, much progress initially could not be made in the creation of terraces where food crops could be grown by the tribesmen on such permanent yields, yet under the supervision of trained Divisional Soil Conservation Officers gradually their Programme was also taken up where the slopes were moderate and gravity irrigation facilities were available by construction of dams and irrigation channels. Some experiment work was also done using high dams and light irrigation pumps to provide water for paddy growing on terraces.

    Afforestation work in eroded land made available by District Councils was first taken up in the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1958-59 in two Centres and then extended significantly in the Mizo districts and still taken in the United Mikir/ North Cachar Hills.

    In 1963, in the month of July, Shri M.C. Jacob, IFS, took over full time charge of the Department as Director of Soil Conservation, Assam. He has been associated with Soil Conservation works in the state from its inception as a pilot project and through its various stages of Development as conservator of Forest and later as Chief Conservator of Forests and Director of Soil Conservation with effect from his assumption of charge as Director of Soil Conservation, having been relieved of his charge of the Forest Department. Since then the department is functioning independently and numbers of Divisions were created accordingly.

    ARRANGEMENT / DISTRIBUTION OF WORKS :-

    The Director is the overall in-charge, he is assisted by one senior most Joint Director of Soil Conservation and one senior most Divisional Officer as a Planning Officer in the Headquarters. Apart from them, there are two Assistant Soil Conservation Officer present in the Directorate one is to assist the Director of Soil Conservation in statistical matter and the other one is to assist in other related matters of the Directorate. Also, one Finance and Accounts Officer is helping in financial matter, who is generally posted on deputation from the Finance Department.

    In the field level, the Zonal Officers who is termed as Joint Director of Soil Conservation is responsible for various field works under respective Divisions within their zones. All the Joint Directors of Soil Conservation are helping the Director of Soil Conservation, Assam, in formulating policy and planning and execution etc of the Department.

    In the Divisional Level, the Divisional Soil Conservation Officers are responsible for implementing all the ongoing schemes of the Department. In this respect the Divisional Soil Conservation Officers are assisted by the concerned Assistant Soil Conservation Officers posted under their control.

    The Soil Conservation Divisions are subdivided into various Ranges, which are working as Sub-Divisional Unit under direct control of the Soil Conservation Rangers. These officers are responsible for cent percent execution of the various schemes in the field level. Of course they are assisted by numbers of subordinate staff like Soil Conservation Overseers, Soil Conservation Demonstrators (Senior and Junior), Soil Conservation Field Works and Soil Conservation Field Malies.

    OBJECTIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT

    1. To reduce all forms of soil erosion.
    2. To increase agricultural productivity in sustained manner without deteriorating the soil health.
    3. Efficient use of rainfall and development of water harvesting structures such as wetland development, farm ponds, check dams, nalla bunds, percolation tanks etc. to recharge the ground water and make storage water available for irrigation.
    4. Restoration of ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing natural resources.
    5. To minimize flood hazards in the valley bottom areas and farm lands by way of preventing silt deposition in the riverbed.
    6. Protection of paddy land from throwing of sand during flood season to some extent.
    7. To maintain ecological balance by taking up plantation programme.
    8. To provide shelter to human and animal husbandry by constructing earthen platform.

     

    ACTIVITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT

    (a) Brief Description of the Schemes indicating main objectives of the Department:

     

    Land Development Works: Land Development works are mainly earthen works for development of land. In Majuli two types of land development works are executed or proposed to execute.

    (i) Earthen Bund : These bunds are made across the field to conserve water at the comparatively higher land.

    (ii) Shelter Platform : This intervention is new for the department. This is required not only for shelter of human and animal husbandry but also to for storage of the harvested crops during flood season.

    Land Reclamation and Water Distribution: Uncultivable waterlogged area can be reclaimed by constructing drainage channel, culvert and disposing the stagnant water through these channels to adjacent river /streams. Land reclamation is also done by cutting and leveling of tillah lands and eradication and removal of weeds like Ipomoea, water hyacinth manually or by using herbicides.

    Land Reclamation and Water Distribution Project (TSP) from Jengrai Thekeraguri to Kechaikhuwa under TSP/2017-18

    Gully Control Works (With or without Sluice Gate): Gully erosion is the main erosion problem of the state which eats up about 3000 hectares of agricultural land annually. But in Majuli gully erosion is not very prominent. Gullies are formed due to the uncontrolled run off of rain water. It can be protected by constructing Drop Spill Way.

    Monbhalchuk Gully Control Project with Sluice Gate under SCSP/2016-17

    River Training Project:-The rivers/streams in Assam are meandering in nature and have caused severe river bank erosion problems in areas adjacent to banks of most of the rivers and tributaries. Due to heavy sedimentation in riverbeds, the problem is getting worse every year. In Majuli two types of river training works are executed or proposed to execute.

    1. Stabilization of bank : To protect the river bank from bank erosion, bank stabilization by maintaining the slope and boulder pitching on the slope.
    2. Boulder Spur : By constructing boulder spur, the current of the river can be diverted to protect the bank from erosion.
    3. Loop Cutting : To reduce meandering of river course, some time it become necessary to cut a loop to make the river course straight to protect the bank as well as to protect the area from over flow by increasing the depth of bed level.

    River Training Works of Kherkati River at Monbhalchuk under Jorhat Soil Conservation Division, Jorhat during 2017-18

    Nature Conservation/Landscaping & Beautification Works : Nature Conservation, Landscaping and Beautification works are done in some of the districts, have created positive impact on people and also maintains microclimate to some extent. The soil conservation department in Majuli is looking forward to propose the same in due course.

    Protective Afforestation: All the riverine non agricultural land, degraded wasteland not suitable for raising agricultural crops are brought under plantation to provide permanent cover to the top soil as well as to maintain the ecological balance.

    Water Harvesting pond:- Farm Pond and Water Harvesting Tank has been constructed to store water for irrigation to the paddy field during lean period as well as to conserve soil moisture.

    Water Harvesting Pond at Baruabari under Jorhat-3(Upper Tuni) IWMP/2010-11 implemented during 2018-19

    Wetland Development:-The department has newly introduced Wetland development Scheme to develop marshy waterlogged areas and to increase production and also to create new water bodies for irrigating the paddy land and for fish rearing. Subsequently this storage water recharges the ground water.

    Integrated Wetland Development( Upar Ghuli Dubi) at Goalgaon under SOPD(G)/2018-19 (Not yet completed)

    PROJECT PROFILE OF IWMP PROJECT:-

    Sl. No.

    Batch No.

    Name of Project

    Treatable Area (Hact)

    Project Cost (Rs. In lakhs)

    Development Block

    LAC

    Status

    1

    Batch-II (2010-11)

    Jorhat-III (Upper Tuni)

    4000.00

    480.00

    Majuli & Ujani Majuli

    Majuli

    Completed (from Jorhat Div.)

    2

    Batch-V (2013-14)

    Jorhat-XI (Lower Tuni)

    4915.00

    589.80

    Majuli

    Majuli

    Not yet started

    3

    Batch-VI (2014-15)

    Jorhat-XIV (Kherkati)

    4800.00

    576.00

    Majuli & Ujani Majuli

    Majuli

    Not yet started

     

    OTHER DEPARTMENTAL SCHEMES IN THREE YEARS

    Year

    Name of Plan

    Name of the Project

    Location

    Intervention

    Estimated Amount (Rs. In Lakh)

    Appox. Area Benefitted (In Hact.)

    Status as on 13.09.2019

    2017-18

    SOPD(G)

    Integrated River Training Project

    Vill : Kharkhati               G.P.: Jengrai        Block : Ujani Majuli

    Bank stabilization & Boulder Pitching

    50.00

    180

    100%

    TSP

    Land Reclamation & Water Distribution Project

    Vill : Jengrai               G.P.: Jengrai        Block : Ujani Majuli

    Earthen Bund with Sluice Gate

    20.00

    120

    100%

    SCSP

    Land Reclamation & Water Distribution Project

    Vill : Dekasensuwa              G.P.: Raunapara       Block : Majuli

    Field Bund & Box Culvert

    10.00

    48

    100%

    2018-19

    SOPD(G)

    Land Development Project at Jorbeel

    Vill : Jorbeel               G.P.: Rongachahi        Block : Ujani Majuli

    Field Bund & Box Culvert

    10.00

    30.00

    85%

    Land Reclamation Project at 2 No. Phuloni

    Vill: Phuloni               G.P. Phuloni           Block: Ujani Majuli

    Field Bund(1) & Humepipe culvert(1)

    10.00

    110

    85%

     

     

    Integrated Wetland Development( Upar Ghuli Dubi) at Goalgaon Part A & B

    Vill: Gualgaon G.P. Sri Luhit   Block: Majuli

    Wetland Development(1) and Farmshed

    57.00

    50

    70%

    2019-20

    SOPD(G)

    Protective Afforestation at Borpomua

    Vill: Borpomua          G.P. Jengrai             Block: Ujani Majuli

    Plantation of soil conservation species

    22.34320

    11.50

    15%

    Protective Afforestation at Major Chapori

    Vill: Major Chapori G.P. Karatipar Block: Majuli

    Plantation of soil conservation species

    23.65680

    11.60

    10%

    Wetland Development Project at Barhoi Dubi Beel

    Vill: Jorbeel G.P. Rongachahi        Block: Ujani Majuli

    Renovation of Beel with plantation -1 No.

    33.50000

    155

    In the Secretariat for Administrative Approval

    Wetland Development Project at Kharjan Morasuti Beel

    Vill: Kakorikota             G.P. Chilkaola                Block: Majuli

    Renovation of Beel with plantation -1 No.

    20.24000

    102

    In the Secretariat for Administrative Approval

    Wetland Development Project at Samaguri Boniapathar

    Vill: Samaguri Boniapothar                    G.P. Bongaon                         Block: Majuli

    Drainage Channel-1 No.

    25.15000

    126

    In the Head Office for Technical Sanction

    Land Development Project at Morituni

    Vill: Morituni G.P. Garamur Block: Majuli

    Earthern Embankment- 1 no

    24.85000

    120

    In the Head Office for Technical Sanction

    RIDF-XXV

    Integrated land Development Project at Namoni Sumoimari Pegu Chapori

    Vill: Sumoimari         GP: Raunapara             Block: Majuli

    Shelter Platform

    50.00000

    255

    At NABARD for final approval

    Construction of Office cum Conference Hall of Majuli Soil Conservation Range

    Vill: Kamalabari G.P. Dakhin Kamalabari              Block: Majuli

    Const of Office cum Conference Hall

    32.93000

    -

    At NABARD for final approval