Bamboo forests to add to natural beauty on the banks of Manali river
Now, visitors can relax on the banks of Manali river while relishing the beauty of the new bamboo forest. The project which was envisioned to protect the water bodies including Manali river, was inaugurated by KFRI chairman Dr. Syam Viswanath, on September 18 – World Bamboo Day.
The project is being implemented along the banks of the river and also on the waste land located next to Peechi dam. Bamboo and reed are being planted by the workers employed under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Reeds will be planted on both sides of the river and various kinds of bamboos will be cultivated on the land next to the dam except steep slopes or areas prone to heavy winds.
Protection from floods
There was a time when bamboos were available in plenty for Keralites. Today, however, there is a severe shortage of bamboos even to meet our basic needs. This project is an effort to bring about a change in that regard.
The primary objective of this project is to insulate the banks of the river from the dangers posed by floods. Even though Manali river was affected by the floods last time, the areas covered by bamboos remained unaffected. Panchayat member K. P. Eldose said that they were planning to create a protective wall around the river by planting more bamboo trees.
The bamboos grown this way can also be used commercially as currently there is a dearth of bamboos for commercial use. Around 10 years ago, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) had planted bamboos on the banks of the river. Today they have fully grown into bamboo groves and the panchayat is taking adequate steps to make sure that it is being distributed to those in need.
Significance of bamboo
Bamboo plays a significant role in protecting our land, air and water. It is something that can be easily grown in humid areas. It is also one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Certain types of bamboos can grow at least 35 inches a day.
In Wayanad, the Gaduva variant of bamboos played an important role in minimising the amount of damage created by the deluge last year. It protected the land by acting as a layer between the land and the water body.
Source of revenue
Bamboos are grown on the banks of the river equidistant from each other, so that once it grows completely it can be easily removed.
With the approval of the irrigation department, the area can be developed as a tourist zone. Various producers of bamboo based merchandises visited the site and got to know more about the project. They assured the Pananchery panchayat authorities that they will buy raw materials needed for production of merchandises from the panchayat. This could potentially be one of the major sources of revenue for the panchayat.
Technical advice from KFRI
KFRI will provide the all the necessary technical assistance needed for the successful implementation of the project and will ensure of the availability of enough bamboos saplings to be planted. This programme will set an excellent example of the significance of bamboos in rebuilding Kerala.
- Syam Viswanath (KFRI director)