Biotechnological Intervention for Rehabilitation in the Earthquake Affected Area
An earthquake of 6.9 richer scales shook the land of Gujarat on 26th January 2001. The quake caused severe devastation, in some part of Gujarat, mainly in the area of Kutch & Saurashtra. About 7,904 villages and numbers of urban centers were affected, with the estimated human death of 20,000 and devastating effect on the economic and social structure. In view of the fact that agriculture is the major source of livelihood means for the majority of the rural population affected by the earthquake, the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology of the Govt.of India structured some special projects, concentrating on employment generation and rehabilitation through biotechnology and high-tech agriculture. One such responsibility of project execution was awarded to the Science Foundation and a `CO-Ordination Cell’ was established in the Vigyan Bhavan for the project implementation and to coordinate & serve as a link between the DBT and the local NGOs and beneficiaries.
Some of the project activities are mentioned below :
- Vermicompost: 221 vermicompost units were installed in 27 villages of Kutch. Approximately 4000 people were employed in the project.
- Spirulina Production: The women of Saurashtra region were trained to grow Spirulina, one of the world’s most valuable source of protein, iron, vitamins - B-carotene. Every day around 20 ladies was trained on the site of Halvad (Surendranagar Dist.) for the cultivation of Spirulina alga.
- Mass Production and Application of Biocontrol: Awareness among the farmers about the use of biological control agents viz. Trichogramma Chilonis, Chrysoperia carnea, ladybird beetles etc. their utilization and conservation was generated. A biocontrol laboratory was set up at farmer’s house in the Village Kanakpur.
- Support to livestock & Greenhouse Farming and Tree Plantation: Along with the human life the devastation had severe effect on the animal lives & health in the earthquake affected areas. Effect of earthquake combined with the drought condition in the area, called for a need for immediate cattle feeding and vaccination initiative and accordingly appropriate measures were undertaken.