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Management of Chambal Ravines in Rajasthan
One of the most spectacular examples of soil erosion in India is found along the Chambal and Yamuna rivers and the Kothar lands of Gujarat State, where erosion is caused by the formation of gullies and ravines through the unwise use of man and his domesticated animals coupled with the action of rain and flowing water. Though the magnitude of tbe ravine problem in India has not been correctly assessed, it is estimated that about 30,00,000 acres of culturable lands are effected by the ravines in the country out of which 7-8 lakh acres are found in the State of Rajasthan alone; the area being on the increase annually. The actual area in need of immediate anti-erosion measures in the state due to the formation of ravines and their extension is nearly 49-56 lakh acres. With the increasing pressure of human population, India can ill-afford the luxury of leaving these ravines as vast blanks or indifferendy stocked. The best and the most important and economical use of these ravines would be to use them for raising fuel, fodder and small timber, which is the crying need of the day, thereby direct all the cow-dung to the farmer's fields. Mechanical reclamation of these lands, for ralsing agricultural crops, though a possibility is extremely expensive, even excluding the cost of the post reclamation works, and may be recommended only at places, where perennial irrigation and suitable markets for the cash crops which would be grown on such reclaimed lands exist. This cannot be said with any certainty in the absence of any reliable figures for the cost of reclamation of ravines in the country. It, however, does not affect the use of these ravine lands for fuel, fodder and small timber as that holds its primary place in our rural economy because after all people in the villages have to be given timber for shelter, fuel for their cooking and fodder for their cattle.
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