Soil conservation Essay

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Soil conservation includes all such measures which protect the soil from erosion and restore its fertility. These measures are of two types-(a) small measures to check soil erosion at local or even individual level, and (b) large measures at govern­ment level involving larger area and heavy invest ment. (a) Small Measures-These include afforesta­tion, regularised land strip cultivation or contour farming or terrace farming in hilly areas, use of stubble mulch system, increasing cohesiveness of the soils through artificial manures and fertilisers, gully plugging, restricting over grazing and shifting cultivation, erecting shelter belts and wind breaks to check wind velocity and wind erosion in arid and semi-arid areas, Fixing of sand dunes by planting trees and grasses, practicing alternate cultivation technique, popularising dry farming and adopting scientific crop rotation system. (b) Large Measures-these include large projects and schemes undertaken by state and cen­tral government to check soil erosion and facilitate extensive reclamation. Following are some of the schemes worthy of mention here: . (i) Reclamation of Ravines and Badlands- . Massive large scale schemes are necessary for soil reclamation in ravines and badlands of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

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One centre has been set up at Hazaribag under D.V.C. to impart training for soil conservation schemes. The World Bank assisted projects, namely Himalayan watershed management project in Uttar Pradesh and pilot project for watershed develop­ment in the rainfed areas in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are being monitored through Watershed Development Council (WDC) in the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation. The All-India Soil and Land Use Survey Organisation has carried out works of delineation and codification of catchments into watersheds, fixa­tion of inter-set priorities of watersheds, determina­tion of hydrologic soil groups, infiltration character­istics, potential and problems of various identified soil series etc. It is busy in carrying out reconnaissance, sample and detailed soil surveys of different parts of the country and has also identified 3772 watersheds for immediate planning. States have been asked to set up State Land Use. Boards for formulating, imple­menting and co-coordinating soil conservation programmes. A two-tier body, namely, the National Land Resources Conservation and Development Commission and the National Land Board has been set up to co-ordinate and oversee the activities of all the State Land Use Boards.

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The scheme aims at overall development of jhum areas on watershed basis. During Eighth Plan an amount of Rs 40.826 crore was released to the States -of north-east region and 0.67 lakh ha. Area was treated through treatment packages. During Ninth Plan up to March 2002, 1.5 lakh ha. Have been treated with an expenditure of Rs 82 crore (against the approved programme and unspent balance of Eighth Plan). The new guidelines of the scheme on the basis of new watershed to common approach has been effective from November 2000 in the revised cost norms of Rs 10,000 per ha. On net treatable area basis with additional activities and improved institutional mechanism. During Tenth Plan, an area of 0.2 lakh ha has been treated at an expenditure of Rs 20 crore up to 2002-2003. .

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