Andaman & Nicobar Islands – (Union Territory) [1958 – 1972]

Pioneering work for rehabilitation of thousands of displaced families from erstwhile East Pakistan in Agriculture in A& N Islands with particular reference to Agriculture and build New home in the New Land..

As per Second Five Year Plan project established in 1958 nucleus of Soil Conservation Organization followed by Soil Conservation Organisation with enough potential for the Islands for Soil and Water Conservation activities including Research and Development activities. Initially, Soil and Water conservation activities initiated under Soil Conservation Board (Dr. D.C. Kaith and Dr. J.K. Basu) Soil Survey activities under Dr. S.P. Ray Chaudhuri, Chief Soil Survey Officer, IARI, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India. Setters were mainly Bengali from lower gangetic delta areas where annual flood provides enough fertility to the land for bumper harvest. At the same time in Andaman if the land is not protected by every rain fertile soil is likely to be lost. Hence Natural Resource Management and proper awareness was very necessary. Established model soil and water conservation centres were established in South Middle and North Andaman Islands. Established Agrostology nursery with indigenous and exotic species and selected species suitable for soil conservation and water conservation, fodder and commercial application. Every effort was taken to ensure the economic stability of the farmers.Soil Conservation Demonstration, Research and Training Centre presented excellent collection different tropical horticultural spices, oil seeds, root crops, cereals, pulses, vegetables, coconut and arecanut.

Sri. V.S. Rao, IFS the then Inspector General of forest, ‘Department of Agriculture’ Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi in his reports of the visit of soil conservation activities in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in 1963 vide Ref: C.C.F., A & N Islands, Port Blair, ENDT, No. F.J 2(G.I) 19 Dated 27-8-1981 reads “In my report on the inspection of these islands in December, 1960. I drew attention to the excellent work being done by Shri. C.J. Thampi, Research Assistant and to his revealing “Survey Report for Middle Andamans” based on a study of 23 villages in the Middle Andamans Tahsil. He had remarked: “Too much valley land has been cleared and too much top soil has been washed into steams, creeks, rivers and into the sea. Too much land has been mutilated by gullies and thereby robbed of its productive capacity”. His studies showed that the extent of soil erosion in areas under “colonization” was Moderately eroded land (22.8%), Severely eroded land (57.2%),Gullied land (24.0%), Land on which washed soil was Accumulated (6.0%). These figures are revealing (and rather frightening). They show how unwise it is to destroy good forests, only to let the land go totally out of production.

When we visited the Soil Conservation Centre at Rangat on the 26th March, 1963, we found Shri. Thampi demonstrating the proper use of the hilly land (5 acres allotted to each settler for horticulture). Three different types of treatments were ‘on exhibit’.

Sri. C.J. Thampi has done very sincere and devoted work in the Andaman during the last five years. I suggest that he be sent abroad for training in soil conservation under some foreign aid programme"

Sri. L.J. Johnson I.C.S (Director General, Ministry of Rehabilitation) On 15th February, 1965., Director General, Ministry of Rehabilitation, Govt. of India visited the soil conservation centre and recorded. “This is one of the best demonstration plots. I have yet seen. It is well made and an obvious success”.

Sri. P.P.I Vaidyanathan, I.C.S, Advisor, Planning Commission, GOI On 15th February, 1965 visited the Soil Conservation Centre and recorded “An excellent demonstration of the potential of the sloping lands”.

Sri. B.N. Maheswari, IAS, Chief Commissioner A & N Islands On 14th May, 1965 Chief Commissioner, A& N Islands after visiting the Centre recorded “I congratulate Sri. Thampi for the excellent work done by him in putting up this ideal demonstration centre. I hope that the people of this area will take full advantage of it in developing their own homestead lands”.

Sri. Randhir Singh, Member, National Commission on Agriculture On 22nd February, 1972 Member, National Commission of Agriculture, Govt. of India recorded “I was really much impressed after I was taken round by Shri. C.J. Thampi, Soil Conservation Officer, A& N Islands. How rocky soil has been converted into smiling orchard, is a typical example of hard work and search for improvement in Agricultural, Horticulture and plantation techniques. Soil Conservation methods after forest is clear cut, by terrace cultivation methods and bunding, proper draining, silt prevention ditches etc. are some scientific methods which all farmers could copy. The experiments carried out here need to be translated at the farmer’s advisory level. After these lands are allotted for Horticulture a farmer needs training at a demonstration Farm like this………….

This is to place on record the outstanding contribution made by Shri C.J. Thampi, the then Soil Conservation Officer, Andaman & Nicobar Islands in the field of Agricultural Research and Extension. During my visit of the Islands in 1972, I have had the opportunity to see the tangible results of devoted work of Shri. Thampi at the Soil Conservation Extension Projects, Research cum Demonstration Farms in Rangat and Sippighat in Andaman Islands.

Land Management techniques, cropping patterns and other agricultural practices developed by Shri.. Thampi in the Research Stations have been successfully translated in practice by the farmers in their fields. Farmers of different islands and the Chief Commissioner with whom I have had discussions, expressed great appreciation of the pioneering service with utmost sincerity and for the contribution made by Shri. Thampi in the development of Agriculture in the A&N Islands.

This sort of horticulture development has great future in these Islands. This scheme should spread all over this Islands."

Legislation for Land Improvement in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

In the light of the increasing accelerated land degradation of virgin land cleared for Agriculture and the high degree of potential for soil erosion hazards it was found necessary to bring in legislation as one of the supportive measures to prevent misuse of land for the sustainability of agriculture, enacted “Land improvement Act” for Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Loksabha since the Islands are under Union Territory of Govt. of India. This was implemented after framing rules.

At Kolkata (Eastern and North Eastern region – 1972 - 1993)

Joined All India Soil and Land Use Survey Organisation of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Govt. of India as “Soil Chemist” at the eastern India Regional Centre, Calcutta, later transferred to National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (ICAR). I joined as Principal Scientist NBSS & LUP at Calcutta (Eastern and North eastern region) followed by Head of the Regional Centre, Kolkata. Soil and land resources inventory for Land Use Planning at Macro and Micro level in all the states of eastern and north eastern India. Development of land for Agricultural and other uses, research, management and training, Established Bench Mark Soils of Eastern and North Eastern Region. Conducted Training and awareness programmes at village, block, district, state and International level in connection with International Conferences. Prepared Soil Resource Map of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Sikkim and Andaman Islands as part of the National Soil Resource Map project, carried out soil survey of North Eastern States, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalay, Tripura, Mizoram and identify areas for jhum (shifting cultivation) control scheme as tribal welfare programme to settle the tribals in permanent agriculture. Established model village in an endeavour for integrated development based on soil map in the cadastral scale as a part of “Lab to Land” project initiated during the golden jubilee year of ICAR. Prepared “Land Use Plan for Sikkim State by contributing immensely to THE HIGH LEVEL TEAM OF PLANNING COMMISSION, Govt. of India, Member, State and National Level soil resources based planning committees, working groups etc. of the Union Govt. The NBSS & LUP Regional Centre ensured supply of Soil resource information for all the states of eastern and north eastern region for specific purposes and for sustainability in Agriculture and environment. The centre initiated consultancy work for the first time for World Bank Project of Govt. of West Bengal based on the National Soil Map.

Lab to Land ICAR Golden Jubilee at NBSS & LUP, Regional Centre

Dr. S.P. Raychaudhuri, First Chief Soil Survey Officer, Govt. of India. "Eminent Soil Scientist of National and International repute"

Dr. S.P. Raychaudhuri, Chairman, QRT, NBSS & LUP, ICAR. 2nd Sept. 1982 wrote about the farm bulletin and Lab to Land programme in English and Bengali languages on “Know your soil by soil survey and use your soil as per Land use Planning” the publication has been compiled nicely and will be useful to extension workers progressive farmers for undertaking promotional activities on the basis of soil map. I found farmers are very keen to increase the productivity of their lands by using adequate fertilizers and manures and using information on the types of soils. I have no doubt that this basic approach on soil, manures and fertilizers will lead to impetus amongst the farmers for higher agricultural production.

Principal Scientist, Head, Regional Centre, Kolkata (Eastern and North Eastern States) Soil Resource Maps for West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Soil resource inventory made for Jhum control scheme shifting cultivation in all the north eastern states viz. Assam Meghalay, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. Soil Survey information at cadastral scale used for successful land use planning on sustainable basis (Lab to Land programme) New Regional centre was Established for NBSS & LUP, Regional Centre, Kolkatta campus at Salt Lake City with full potential . New infrastructure Regional Head Quarters building at Salt Lake City was established replacing the old dilapilated rented building at Tollygung in which NBSS & LUP was functioning since inception. This was one of the decisions taken by Sri. C. J. Thampi who joined the centre in 1972. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan the then Director General, ICAR Sri. Randhir Singh, MP, Member, National Commission on Agriculture and Dr. R.S. Murthy, Director NBSS & LUP gave full support for the success of this endeavour. The Centre was inaugurated by Dr. G.S. Dhillon, Union Agricultural Minister on 3rd Nov. 1987. The Centre also stood first among all other Regional Centres in the Scientific and technical innovative contributions to eastern and north eastern States. Dr. Thampi continued to be the Principal Scientist & Head, Regional Centre till January 1993.

Prof. P. Bullock, Soil Survey and Land Research Centre, Silsoe Campus, Bedfod, England 9th August 1988 – visited the    Integrated Lab to Land Arapanch village development programme based on detailed Soil Survey of the village in West Bengal wrote to Thampi “I was extremely pleased to have the opportunity of seeing your Lab to Land policy and I am sure that I shall be quoting Arapanch village to many people around the world. I also had a very instructive visit to examine a paddy soil and see typical landscapes on my final day.

I was most impressed with the enthusiasm and ability of Thampi and his staff, and I am sure that your National Maps will be a credit to you all”.

Dr. S.P. Dhua, General Manager (Marketing), Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd., wrote to Thampi on 11th June, 1982,    Kolkata – “Lab to Land programme implemented by your Regional Centre at Calcutta with the collaboration of our organization and other agencies, the publication “Soil survey and land use planning” brought out in English and Bengali for the use of soil survey information by the farmers and other extension staff is very much effective for comprehensive development of the rural economy and will serve as a basic information on natural resources.

It will be highly appreciated if the soil survey and land use planning programme is implemented in the India-British Fertiliser Project areas in West Bengal (District – Purulia, Bankura, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar) in the first instance”.

In Kerala State

Commissioner, Kerala State Land Use Board (SLUB), Thiruvananthapuram.

Joined Govt. of Kerala Service as Commissioner, Kerala State Land Use Board (SLUB) (1993).

Land Use Board initiated inventories of land resources with a view to develop a Land Use Policy suitable for Kerala State and study land use problems. A draft Land Use Policy within the ambit of National Land Use Policy outlines was prepared. An intensive awareness programme for conservation, development and management of Land Resources was made throughout the state at panchayat, district level with a view to implement Land Use Policy, A three tier system, since “Land Utilization” is the mandatory power of panchayat contained in the panchayat Act. To Implement the scientific land use planning programmes at panchayat level Land Use “Planning Cell was constituted (vide No. G.O. (Ord.) 1490/97/LAD, dated 22-4-1997) at each panchayat in the State. Draft constitution for Kerala State Land Use Board was prepared with a view to make it a Statutory Body to oversee the implementation of Land Use Policy in the State. For scientific development of land resources water being one of the critical inputs and watershed system is the accepted management structure SLUB prepared Watershed Atlas for the first time with codification for all the 44 rivers of the state. Initiated studies on the hazards of land degradation in the state viz. coastal erosion, land slide zonation of western ghats (portion of Kerala State) for the sustainable development of Agriculture. Based on the “Land Resources” inventory made by National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (ICAR) a perspective plan for Kerala State upto 2020 was prepared for the first time for State level planning and throw some light at Block and panchayat level because of the scale limitation of the State level resource data. This endeavour needs to be brought to panchayat level for sustainable development of agriculture.

Director, Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre

Remote Sensing activities were strengthened. Kerala State Remote Sensing Centre inactive and non functional was renamed as Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre (a society registered under Govt. of Kerala) and activated with the government approval to accelerate application of remote sensing technology for development programmes. This centre was functioning as a project implementing agency of State Land Use Board.