Konkan, one of the four geographical zones of Maharashtra state of India, has become more fragile due to its location, geography and being sandwiched between Western Ghat ridge on one side and Arabian sea on the other. It does not have ideal sites for large reservoirs like the other easterly flowing rivers originating in Sahyadri ranges, nor has possibility of developing large command areas for food production. Intersecting creaks and backwaters have rendered sizable portion of the flat lands along river and creek banks into marshes or are inundated by sea water, spoiling crop year after year. Though at times land holdings are larger, it is only apparent as productive land is far too little and most other lands locally referred to as 'Varkas' (Waste land) yield nothing to very little. Thus high rainfall, high runoff, high stream velocity, higher rate of erosion, rapid removal of sediments, rivers reaching maturity right at the foothills of Western Ghat and all the disadvantages of nearness of sea are the causes of degradation of the region and the people. Inspite of large quantities of meteoric water availability annually, the region suffers water scarcity for eight months specially, March to June, till monsoon begins. The region suffers desiccations, though humidity is high owing to high slopes, non-retentive soils and hard rock underground geological features.
Village Kunde is located in Bhivandi Taluka of Thane District, State Maharashtra of India. It is nearly 60 Km away from the district headquarter Thane and 27 Km away from the Taluka headquarter Bhivandi. The village has 632 hectare of total land, out of which 260 hectares is cultivated land and 104 hectares is waste land. Total population of the village is 2654 (345 families) spread in 3 hamlets, out of which 1330 are male and 1324 are female. Primary source of drinking water are community wells and bore wells.
The geology of the village area is very much monotonous being of trappaean country. There is no other rock type other than the Deccan Basalts and their derivatives that make up the country rock. This area is characterized by hard massive basalt with open jointing. Any soil that is generated as a result of rock alteration is immediately removed and transported.
Socio-economic development of Kunde Village:
It is to be achieved through watershed available for the purpose. It has been experience that in spite of good rain the paucity and scarcity of water is the main cause to all ills of under development. In the past, nature abundantly displayed the natural resources with its ability to rejuvenate those resources and maintain the overall balance owing to large scale denudation, the basic fabric of nature's ability to sustain balance has been placed at stake and slowly the capacity to regenerate on its own has been adversely affected. The effect of denudation of forest was multiple. It affected rainfall, allowed gushing of almost every drop of rain water along with top fertile soil and took down the water table level below more than 10 meters, resulting in loss of retention capacity of moisture. No water, no work, no wage and the migration to relatively green pasture was inevitable to survive and that too at the cost of stability, loss of education to children and most of all tendency to accept the fate of bonded labour merely to overcome to some extent uncertainty of life and hopefully look at the better times to come. Unfortunately, this continues since the management for water resources despite of abundant rainfall is lacking.
Therefore, Rotary Club of Bombay Kandivli has conceived a composite program of area development & afforestation to conserve soil & water to help raise the ever receding water table. The village proposed for this project is 'Kunde'. The program will increase residual moisture content in the soil to enable farmers to reap two crops unlike today's dependence of single paddy crop. Also this will enable grow more in quantity due to constant feed of moisture through soil. Vegetable and floriculture cultivation would create an amenable atmosphere for animals & birds to return and thrive on the nature's gift to them. Top soil would remain in place due to hold of roots and would increase the produce like fodder etc. for animals to graze & survive. The wells get dried up in Feb/March. The water available from Oct to Feb/March is just sufficient, it at all, for drinking purposes.
Objectives of the Project:
To reduce erosion and runoff.
To arrest further degradation of land and gully formation.
To increase ground water discharge of Kunde watershed.
To develop vegetative cover and biomass availability.
To enhance sustainable livelihood opportunities for villagers of Kunde village.
To develop habitat for Wild Life.
Proposal is to construct i) 2 nos. of Farm Ponds and ii) Vegetable & Floriculture Cultivation in 40 hectare of land in the 'Kunde' village area.
Heavy rainfall have allowed to run across fields, eroding valuable soil & clogging nearby streams. Form Ponds prevent soil erosion and enhance the recharge of ground water. A farm pond is a large hole dug in earth, usually square or rectangular in shape which harvests rainwater stores it for future use. It has an inlet to regulate inflow and an outlet to discharge excess water. The pond is surrounded by a small bund which prevents erosion on the banks of the pond. Water from the pond is conveyed to the fields manually, by pumping or by both methods. In this project we proposed 2 Nos. of farm ponds to collect and store water for post rain use and for percolation purpose.
As a consequence of the watershed treatments both physical and plantation, the moisture content would be increased in the paddy land area after monsoon also. To take benefits from this increased residual moisture content the farmers will be motivated to cultivate the high yielding Pulses, Oil seeds and Vegetable crops in their paddy land in Rabi season. For these purpose 40 hectare area has been proposed in the project. Rice being the major cereal daily food is dominated by rice leading to malnutrition proteins among tribal. A pulse crop in the post rainy season will certainly help in improving protein nutrition of tribal. In addition the pulse crop will help in restoring fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in to the land. The Floriculture Cultivation will have help them to increased their income and also generate employment.
The estimated cost of farm ponds and of Vegetable & Floriculture Cultivation in 40 hectares of land have been worked out. Two nos. of farm ponds will cost around INR 39,30,000 (approx. USD 57,800) @ INR 19,65,000 (USD 28,900) per farm pond.
For Vegetable & Floriculture Cultivation in 40 hectare of land piece (vegetable cultivation in 20 hectare and floriculture cultivation in 20 hectare land), it will cost approx. INR 10,40,000 ( approx. USD 15,300) considering labour component to be borne by the beneficiaries.
Rotary Club of Bombay Kandivli has always planned major projects considering sustainability in focus. For Project Kunde, following measures have been taken so far:
i) RCC of Kunde Village was chartered in Feb 2015. Activities are prioritized and undertaken in consultation with RCC members and villagers. RCC subsequently supervise and report the progress of the work to the Club.
ii) 5-10% contribution of villagers/ beneficiaries is being assured in the projects by way of cash contribution or through labour works. Subsequent maintenance by the beneficiaries.
iii) Farm ponds, after construction, will be handed over to local village administration (Gram Panchayat), from whom commitment will be obtained for upkeep and maintenance.
iv) Periodic visits by Club members to the village for interactions, monitoring and future plans.
v) Study is planned to be undertaken to harness the resources available in the village surroundings and convert them into income yielding assets for sustenance.
vi) Professional agency 'NIRID' (National institute Rural Integrated development) with expertise in 'Rural and Tribal Area Development', has been hired by the Club in carrying out feasibility study in 'Socio-Economic Development of Kunde Village'. They will further be involved to guide and advise the Club in detailed project study, planning and execution. Concerned Government agencies, local village administration and other stakeholders will also be consulted and involved in the project.