A massive drive to convert 400 acres of unutilised or barren land into a dense forest within a period of time is underway at Tiruchi district in Tamil Nadu.
The Tiruchi district administration officials told IANS that the land identified is a “Porambokku” land at Lalgudi Taluk in the district and 25,000 palmyra saplings have been already planted. The district administration and Lalgudi Taluk officials said that around 2 lakh saplings would be planted on the 400-acre land.
The palmyra saplings are planted at a distance of 12 feet from each other so that it is not crowded when they grow up. According to the District Rural development department officials, a private firm is sponsoring all the saplings and the planting and maintenance including watering is being done by the workers of the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).
Officials attached to the project told IANS that the tract of land could develop into an “economic zone” in ten years’ time from the marketable yield and employment opportunities that it could offer.
Godson Samuel. S, who is a researcher on Palmyra palms and author of the book, “A travelogue of Palmyra Palm” told reporters that the tree does not grow in a controlled environment and that the 400 acres of land where the plantation is being taken up will turn into a dense forest.
He said that it will turn into a major ecological area attracting wild animals and birds. Samuel said that the Palmyra trees have a major cultural significance in the country and added that this would also lead to the revival of a lost culture.