Scenario of Wasteland development in Anantapur District

Anantapur District is chronically drought affected and receives 552 mm of rainfall, and is situated in rain shadow region. Bulk of rainfall is received from South West monsoon. Failure of South West monsoon in the district leads to drought. The total geographical area of the district is 19.13 Lakh ha. The forestland is about 10% of the geographical area. as per Forest Survey of India, (2005) the area under canopy is hardly 2.16%. Area wise, it is biggest district in Andhra Pradesh. 90% of the agricultural area is under rainfed condition. Irrigation is through bore wells and Thungabhadra Project (High Level Canal) covers an area of 51.771 ha. in 157 villages.

Drought has been a recurring phenomenon in Anantapur district. The adverse effect of drought is felt not only on human beings, animal population but also on ground water table, drinking water, crop, and fodder production. The situation has led to spreading of large chunks of lands to become barren and unproductive. Nearly 16.90% of the total geographical area is classified as wasteland, as per NRSA.

Inspite of all the programmes aiming at land development through soil and moisture conservation and localized water harvesting, the following problems of wastelands still persist.

  • 1. Increase in biotic pressure.
  • 2. Absence of adequate investments and appropriate management.
  • 3. High incidence of poverty in rural areas.
  • 4. Breakdown of traditional institutions for managing CPRs (Common Property Resources) and failure of new institutions to fill the vacuum.
  • 5. Faulty land use practices.

As these problems exacerbated, the consequences are, soil erosion and degradation, depletion of natural resources increase in extent of wastelands, threat to ecological security due to pressure on forest areas.

The following components are suggested to improve the productivity of wastelands.

i. Soil and moisture conservation measures like bunding, trenching, vegetative barriers, and drainage line treatment to check land degradation.

ii. Planting and sowing of legumes and fodder species, promotion of agroforestry and dry land horticulture, Block plantation for meeting fuelwood, fodder, demands, Strip plantations along roads, canal banks, will improve biomass productivity.

N.R.E.G.S. (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme): Apart from the land based programmes explained above; NREGS is launched in the district during the year 2006, as per the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005). The main objective of the programme is to provide 100 days of employment per each family, in a financial year in rural areas. 80% of the funds are earmarked for land based programmes like soil and moisture conservation, water harvesting, and development of wastelands, and CPRs, creation of durable assets in rural areas.

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