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Chintamani, Karnataka
Agro-ecological Zone : Eastern Ghats, Tamilnadu Uplands and Deccan Plateau   Project Districts :

Kolar and Chikkaballapur

River basin : Papagni   Mean Annual Rainfall : 694 mm
Major Soil Types :

Medium to deep red loamy soils

  Forest Types : Tropical Dry-deciduous, Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrub Forests
Major Habitats : T Grazing lands, Scrub forests, Wetlands, and Agriculture lands   Nearest Protected Area : Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary(Chittoor, AP), Banneragatta National Park (Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Threatened Species : YeYellow Throated Bulbul, Starred Tortoise, Wrightiatinctoria, Shorearoxburghii, Red Sand Boa, Kolar Leaf-nosed Bat   Percentage of Common Lands including Forest : 42%
Percentage of People Living below Poverty Line : 23%   Percentage of Scheduled Castes/Tribes : 29%
Area under Protection : 8,817 ha   Village Institutions Associated With : 180
Total Households of Project Villages : 11,839   Indigenous Communities : Nayakas, Lambanis, Kurubas and Madigas


Our project area in Karnataka covers parts of Kolar and Chikballapur districts. The terrain is hilly with rocky boulders, and there is only sparse vegetation on the hills lopes. The common lands are classified as grazing lands and are under the custody of the Panchayat. The forests are largely mixed dry-deciduous, tropical thorn and scrub forests. The degraded forestlands are mostly bereft of indigenous species and infested with the invasive lantana. Eucalyptus plantations predominate on private lands as well as some forestlands. For the past few centuries, a number of cascading tanks have catered to irrigation, and the water needs of livestock. In recent years, however, the unbridled use of groundwater for raising water-intensive crops at an extraction rate double that of replenishment, has alarmingly depleted the groundwater table.

We initiated our activities in 1998 in the upper catchments of the Papagni River, which originate sin Kolar. Today, our interventions reach out to 180 habitations, with village institutions protecting around 8,817 hectares of grazing and degraded forestlands. With active engagement of the Panchayats, custodial rights overgrazing lands were devolved to constitutionally mandated subcommittees of the Panchayats, coterminous with habitations. The increased engagement of Panchayats with their constituents made it possible to prepare effective perspective plans and use NREGA provisions to improve the natural resources of the area. Recognizing the need to nest various institutions under the umbrella of Panchayats for improved governance, we are aiming to bring Village Watershed Committees and other similar institutions such as Tank Users' Groups into the fold of the Panchayat.

With groundwater resources in the region already in are focused at sharing the findings of the geo-hydrology study and water-audit data with Panchayats, government agencies, and other stakeholders of the region, so as to evolve strategies, and to galvanize collective action on regulating use of groundwater and other natural resources. We have made a small beginning in this context, by demonstrating benefits of low-input agriculture methods, and in capacitating rural volunteers to assist Panchayats in preparing perspective plans, and in implementing conservation activities under NREGA.



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