3,344 acres of barren land in Attappady will be converted into farmland

An agriculture development scheme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGP) is being launched in 154 of the 187 tribal hamlets in the Attappady Hills in Palakkad. As much as 3,344 acres of barren land will be converted into farmland under 10,405 works with the implementation of the Rs.64-crore scheme, considered a first of its kind. The salient feature of the scheme is that it will revive the traditional farming practices of tribes.

Ever since the close of the 10-year Rs.219-crore tribal and eco development project under the Attappady Hill Area Development Society (AHADS) by the middle of this year, the tribes have been facing acute economic problems. With no work, many tribes are now close to starvation and are fighting a hard battle for survival. And their traditional farming practices are no more in use now.

The new scheme is being implemented with a view to bridging this gap, says P.V. Radhakrishnan, block programme officer, MGNREGS, Attappady.

The scheme, he says, is for the revival of traditional farming practices of tribes such as cultivating pulses for consumption.

The scheme is being implemented at all the three grama panchayats of Agali, Pudur and Sholayur in Attappady. Farming is being taken up in the tribal hamlets of Bodychala, Koodanchala, Nallasingha, and Vadakke Kadanpara at Solayur panchayat; in the hamlets of Naduppathy, Bhoothivazhi, Karuvara Farm, Ozhathiyur, Vadakottathara, Kollakadavu, Thaze Gulikadavu and Mamana at Agali panchayat; and at Nattakal Chundapetty and Palakayur at Pudur panchayat.

The tribal people who work in their fields will be paid daily wages under the MGNREGS. The work will be supervised by Ooru Vikasana Samithies (Hamlet Development Councils). As many as 486 persons have been given training by AHADS. The technical staff for the project will be chosen from them, he says.

The scheme will be extended to the three tribal agriculture farms at Karuvara, Chindakki and Vattulukky under the Attappady Farming Cooperative Society. Dairy development, cattle grass cultivation, etc., will be included in the scheme in cooperation with the Agriculture and Dairy Development departments.