Land, Water & Infrastructure Related Projects

Percolation Tank at Kamalapur

Check Dam at Alsund
Road connectivity between the 9 villages of the Alsund cluster and the latter's to the outside region was almost non-existent. Electricity and tele-communication were the other priority needs. Between 1970-1974 with the people's cooperation the following works were completed.

A) i) 25 km. long roads
ii) 100 irrigation wells, either dug anew or old ones desilted, deepened and energised
iii) soil conservation and land-shaping measures total coverage - 400 hectares.

B) Rain being the only source of water, rain which is less than adequate and untimely at that, intensive water conservation measures were needed. The local watershed of Alsund cluster measuring 100 was taken up for development. The technical details are given below. It needs to be taken under consideration that such intensive watershed development is rarely found elsewhere in the State. The need for it in the drought-prone zone covering vast territories cannot be overstated

Total catchment treated       5775 hectares
Total quantity of water impounded by check dams 177 TCM
Normal groundwater recharge 455 TCM
No. of check dams on the streams 35
- Hectarage benefit calculation 534 hectares
Average cost of water per M3 Rs. 23.65

Construction details of check dams Dimensions in meters                   Expenditure incurred   Rs
-- 34400 m3 measurement of construction)                                          42,70,000.00

Employment provided No. of beneficiaries Beneficiary Contribution
8000 mandays 968 farm holdings benefited
Particulars Amount Rs.
- labour and material
- Land cost (for flank wall construction
- Crop damage during construction
Total Rs.

Out of the beneficiary families 6% held lands above 4.5 hectares and 94% families had land holdings between 0.5 to 2 hectares. Out of the 968 family holdings 289 belong to the backwards.

The Process
Members of our Executive Committee were active in organising the farmers whose lands lay within the percolation zone of the proposed check dam site. All of them were asked to cooperate in digging the foundation of the bund as their contribution. The design estimate was made by a professional engineer. The actual construction was undertaken by local labour teams which were supervised by senior activists of VDS. For the construction of the first four check dams services of an experienced engineer and an associated contractor were enlisted. Our activists got on-the-job training and then were able to construct the remaining 31 check dams at approximately one-third of the official schedule of costs.

Cropping Pattern
The cropping profile underwent a change. There was a significant shift from traditional crops like sorghum, sugarcane and groundnut to Thompson seedless grapes, other horticultural species and vegetables. The major crop distribution in the year 2000 was as follows :

Sugar cane Thompson seedless Vegetables Horticulture varieties
78 hectares 200 hectares 107 hectares 50 hectares

Milk Production
During 1990 and 2000 the area under greenery and the overall production of fodder varieties increased appreciably. In the same period the availability of drinking water increased by leaps and bounds. Villages like Alsund, Khambale, Kamalapur which depended for drinking water on tanker supply, became water surplus villages. Due to these factors milk production in the area has registered a marked improvement.

As part of the water conservation measures two percolation tanks at Alsund and Kamalapur villages were built. One old tank at Alsund was deepened and repaired. These tanks have a total capacity of 6.5 million cubic feet. With a view to optimizing the utilization of irrigation potential the following measures were taken,

i) completion of 100 irrigation wells with farmers initiative.
ii) erection of small lift irrigation projects on Verala river front at Vazar village, having a total irrigation capacity of 150 hectares
iii) a lift irrigation project at Kamalapur with irrigation capacity of 200 hectares.

New Crops
Thompson seedless grape cultivation was introduced in the project area. The total area under the vineyards is 200 hectares. There are special features involved. Seedless grape is not a traditional crop of our State whose geographical coordinates are 740E to 810E Longitude and 160N to 220N Latitude. The average temperature ranging between 20 to 45 Celsius. In this region the per hectare grape yield is 20 tonnes a hectare and upwards. Cultivation of the crop was pioneered in 1962 by two farmers and a professor of Mathematics who studied plant morphology as a hobby. The grape produced is mainly of table variety which excels both in quality and quantity. They export grapes to Europe, the Gulf and South East Asians countries. Fortyfour years since the triggering of this grape revolution, the farmers still hold the edge in technology lately they have branched into production of wine varieties.


The people were made aware of the importance of green cover for the soil as an effective means of soil and water conservation. During 1971 and 1974 VDS developed 80 hectare government land at Kamalapur. 90,000 forest trees were planted and protected by the local village council (Panchayat)


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