Pro-farmer CSR initiative by WABAG to ensure sustainable livelihood

CHENNAI: VA Tech WABAG in water and wastewater management under its sustainable CSR practices ensured livelihood for 250 farmers through restoration of traditional irrigation system at Killai Village, Chidambaram Taluk, Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu partnering Hand in Hand India, a public charitable trust.

The project was the brainchild of Agricultural Engineering Department and was entrusted to WABAG by the then Collector, Thiru TP Rajesh Kumar, I.A.S. has been successfully implemented and dedicated to the Killai farmers at a special function on 23 Feb. This has brought about a remarkable change in the underground water level and also marked improvement in the economic health and environmental aspects of Killai village.

The SokkanOdai – the canal system was almost silted and become defunct, mostly due to the 2004 Tsunami and 2015 unprecedented floods, also due to neglect of maintenance. Siltation and almost complete erosion of bunds rendered the large area of paddy fields on either side of the canal was flood prone as there were no other ways of draining out the excess water. The condition of the canal was getting worse every year and the community was not in a position to take up the massive work of desilting as their livelihood and economic conditions were already deteriorated.

This project aimed to restore traditional irrigation through structural renovation in Sokkan Odai with the objective of facilitating sustainable crop production in both flood and drought situations. The interventions included channel de-silting, deepening and widening wherever necessary, providing pipe outlet – inlets on the Canal banks, formation of sunken ponds for water storage and bio mass production on the canal banks.

WABAG CSR intervention benefited around 250 Killai farmers covering 350 hectares of farmland across six villages. Owing to the restoration, there has been a reverse migration to the village and 20 acres of land that were lying fallow for the last 5 years, have been brought under cultivation.

The Killai village community has got access to sustainable crop production during both flood and drought as a result of restoration of traditional irrigation canal as well as drainage system in Sokkan Odai a distributary Channel of the Khan Sahib canal.

The restoration comprised de-silting of 4.3 kms. stretch through channel de-silting and excavation of 19716 cu.m. of silt, installation of 64 pipe outlets on channel banks; 10 dug-out sunken ponds for water storage, planting of Vetriver as soil binders and biomass plantation (gliricidia) on the channel banks.

As part of Sustainability Plan, SokkanOdai Conservation Committee has been formed consisting of beneficiary farmers to ensure the upkeep of the canal with the technical guidance of Hand in Hand India.  The Committee will maintain a separate bank account towards the contributions from the farmers for this purpose.

This is the an other CSR project implemented in Cuddalore District – two major projects before CSR law came into force and two after the legal mandate. Soon after Tsunami tragedy, WABAG designed, built and donated a Drinking water treatment plant at MGR Thittu, Killai village to meet the urgent drinking water needs of the Killai village.

Secondly, WABAG in partnership with an Austrian NGO, built a Community Centre at Mudasalodai village. Thirdly, during July 2017, based on the assessment, WABAG renovated two major tanks in Adivarahanallur and Thethampattu villages, Cuddalore District as Watershed Development Plus projects for the benefit of the villagers.

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