The Mannancherry Grama Panchayat, which is all set to be declared a village with no fallow land on Saturday, is in a festive mood with delegates from several other Panchayats and students from the Kerala Agricultural University coming down to witness the declaration.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, addressing a press conference here along with Panchayat authorities, said the occasion was being turned into a weeklong festival, from Saturday till April 9, with food festivals, seminars, competitions and a variety of cultural programmes.

Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar is slated to declare Mannancherry as a Panchayat with no fallow land at 4 p.m. and also to conduct the State-level launch of the ‘Susthira Samruthi’ project apart from distributing various agricultural awards.

Dr. Isaac will inaugurate a harvest festival to harvest paddy from the fields that were made cultivable as part of the drive to do away with fallow land in the Panchayat. At 4.30 p.m., Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran will inaugurate an agricultural exhibition while Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy will deliver the keynote address. Mr. Ratnakaran will also inaugurate a project to encourage the cultivation of ‘Visakh’, a variety of paddy developed by the Paddy Mission, and which is suitable for household cultivation. The project is aimed at making everyone interested in agriculture.

A seminar on Thanneermukkom Barrage and the environment will be held on April 4 while seminars on other issues, including one on exemplary initiatives by local governing bodies, will be held till April 9.

The Panchayat has 280 acres of kari fields and 300 acres of normal fields. As part of a project that began in 2005, the entire 580 acres were made cultivable at a total cost of about Rs.5 crore.

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