CWRDM-led panel to look into paddy farming prospects; first meeting on October 5

An expert committee comprising people’s representatives and officials from various government departments has been constituted to look into the possibility of developing large acres of kole land at Veliyannur in Koyilandy.

The committee, headed by scientists from the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM), will convene its first meeting on October 5 to discuss the possibility of launching paddy cultivation in the maximum area possible. K. Dasan, MLA, who initiated talks for the development of the vast area of the water-logged land, said the Principal Agriculture Officer would supervise the paddy-farming project and give support from the Agriculture Department for the venture. “Our mission is to make nearly 500 acres of unused land ready for paddy cultivation,” he said.

Farmers who attended a recent meeting for discussing the possible development projects for the region said there should be immediate intervention on the part of the government to remove weeds from the kole land. They pointed out that any agricultural venture would be successful in the area only after the clearing of weeds.

The farmers also expressed concern over the increasing number of leeches in the area. Steps should be taken to tackle this before beginning farming, they demanded. Mr. Dasan said the initiative, which was pending before the government for various reasons, would be projected with more emphasis in the days to come.

“Earlier, the expense calculated for the development of the land was Rs.5 crore, which would no longer be sufficient for new ventures,” he said, adding that the fresh proposal would demand more fund from the government.

Though there was an earlier proposal to develop the land for fish farming, it was partially withdrawn as Fisheries Department officials expressed doubt over the success of such a venture in poor-quality water. Some of the local farmers had earlier experimented with the project, but had not gained the desired output.

“In the forthcoming meet, we are planning to invite Tourism Department officials to think of any possible investments in the area. Suggestions in this regard have come from farmers too,” said Mr. Dasan. He also made it clear that paddy farming would be the priority area and other projects would be considered only after experimenting paddy farming.

The proposal, which will be prepared with the approval of four local self government institutions in the area, would be submitted to the State government in three months. After the State government approval, it would be sent for the consideration of the Union Ministry of Agriculture.

As per the LSG records, around 1,300 acres of kole land was remaining unused in the region for long years. Lacking government support, the farmers who owned the land were keeping it idle.

A few, who had initiated cultivation earlier, stopped the work as they could not meet the expenses.

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