They represented the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering.

They made for an unusual sight, working an abandoned paddy field at Koliakode on Sunday morning. Sleeves rolled up, their feet invisible under the murky waters and their amateur hands carefully knotting together a shock of seedlings were a group of 100 students of the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering.

They represented the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of the institute. The students forsook their weekend off to participate in the second stage of one of their flagship programmes — ‘Kathir’, conservation of paddy fields.

Traditionally, rice paddy has been the main crop cultivated in the State, but its production is on the decline. Even Koliakode, near Pappanamcode, stands testament to this fact for here lies 4 hectares of land where, not too long ago, lush green fields of paddy were harvested like clockwork. T.2they found that the soil in the area was rich in nutrients and that there was a natural gradient that allowed water to collect here. “It seemed criminal to simply let it be,” said NSS programme officer M. Arun. Three weeks ago the students prepared around 30 cents of land for cultivation. . They expect to harvest the field in April and get at least 400 kg.