Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu creates world record

Led by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), the district successfully planted the seeds across 993 locations in 429 village Panchayats

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NEW DELHI — The Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu has carved a name for itself in the record books and people’s minds with the successful implementation of a green initiative of massive proportions. Led by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), the district has planted as many as 17,71,840 Palmyra seeds across 993 locations in 429 village panchayats. The achievement coincided with the celebration of 153rd Gandhi Jayanthi. The whole initiative was completed in 12 hours.

The planting of the seeds assumes significance because Palmyra is considered the State tree and a harmonious species in Tamil Nadu. The massive seed planting effort is a step forward in the conservation of the species as the number of Palmyra trees has been on the decline, of late.

CM Stalin’s visionary programme, says District Collector

According to J.U. Chandrakala, District Collector, Ramanathapuram, “Chief Minister Sri M.K. Stalin’s visionary ‘Palmyra Protection Programme’ has guided the State Government to plant Palmyra seeds across Tamil Nadu to protect the State tree and propagate it in a big way across the State as the tree has been facing extinction due to rapid felling. To fulfil the mission and vision of protecting and expediting a revolution of planting the Palmyra trees, we in Ramanathapuram district, with the support of 1,45,245 MGNREGS workers, have planted 17,71,840 Palmyra palm seeds in 12 hours.”

K J Praveen Kumar, Additional Collector (DRDA), added that the Palmyra trees, which are sturdy and strong, can withstand heavy winds and cyclones. Further, the fibrous roots have the capability to go deep into the soil and bind the soil well, thereby preventing soil erosion. After micro-level planning, rigorous meetings, training and workshops were conducted for the benefit of all stakeholders between July 15, 2021, to September 30, 2021, and the project was successfully implemented on October 1, 2021.

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According to him, the DRDA team identified the locations conducive for planting the Palmyra seeds. Vantage points such as avenues, tank bunds, main roads and arterial village roads were chosen. Also, spots around water bodies were chosen as it is a known fact that if planted around water bodies, the Palmyra plants would help in recharging water.

The massive campaign of planting 17,71,840 Palmyra seeds will pave the way for aiding the livelihood of farmers. It will also help the district to withstand heavy winds and cyclones in the future, he pointed out.

World Record comes calling

Besides, the project has also won a world record accreditation from Elite World Records, Asian Records Academy, India Records Academy and Tamilan Book of Records in the category “Most Palmyra Palm Seeds Planted at Multiple Locations in 12 Hours”.

Eleven adjudicators and records managers from these world record certifying agencies were physically present on September 30, 2021, and October 1, 2021, and visited 334 locations. They also verified the quality, weight, and quantity of the seeds and the plantation methods. It was also verified whether all the rules spelt out by the world record agencies were followed during the process. Post all verifications, the world record title was conferred to the district.

What the world record agencies say

“IT IS VERY EVIDENT THAT THIS PROJECT OF PLANTING 17,71,840 PALMYRA SEEDS WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR THE LIVELIHOOD OF THE PEOPLE OF RAMANATHAPURAM DISTRICT IN THE YEARS TO COME. WE ARE PLEASED TO CERTIFY THIS PROJECT AS A NEW WORLD RECORD.”

–Ameet K Hingorani, Senior Adjudicator, Elite World Records

“THIS NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROJECT BY PLANTING PALMYRA PALM SEEDS HAS CREATED A GREEN REVOLUTION AND IT HAS GIVEN A LOT OF FAITH AND CONFIDENCE TO FARMERS AND ALL STAKEHOLDERS.”

– Dr. B. Siva Kumaran, Senior Adjudicator, Asian Records Academy

“THIS VISIONARY PROJECT EXECUTED BY DRDA, RAMANATHAPURAM DISTRICT, WILL BE AN EVERLASTING ASSET TO THE PEOPLE OF RAMANATHAPURAM. IT WILL HELP THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF THE PEOPLE IN THE DAYS TO COME. WE ARE PROUD TO CERTIFY THIS AS A WORLD RECORD.”

– P. Jeganathan. Associate Editor and Senior Records Manager, India Records Academy

“PALMYRA TREES HAD BEEN AN INTEGRAL PART OF TAMIL LIFE. WITH CHANGES IN CULTURAL AND SOCIAL MILIEU, THEY LOST THEIR IMPORTANCE. IN REALITY AND INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE, THEY WERE CONSIDERED WORTHLESS AND AXED, RESULTING IN SIGNIFICANT LOSS IN TREE COUNT. THIS PROJECT HAS CREATED AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF PALMYRA TREES AND HAS ATTRACTED PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.”

– Dr. B. Bala Subramanian, Senior Records Manager, Tamilan Book of Records

The unique effort undertaken and successfully implemented by the Ramanathapuram district does indeed go long way in terms of creating general awareness and also greener pastures. Significantly, the initiative ensures that families in the district who are completely dependent on Palmyra and its products would find a better livelihood.

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The Palmyra seed plantation drive has proved to be a great motivator for all people in the district and has also spurred public interest and volunteers to be part of the massive programme.

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