Forty Higher Secondary students of the Chovallur Saint Georges Vocational Higher Secondary School near here donned the role of ryots on Monday to cultivate a fallow paddy field near their school. The programme wore a festive look as the students in typical peasantry attire stood in ankle deep muddy water and sang folk songs while transplanting paddy.

Programme officer A. Suresh Kumar said the paddy cultivation exercise was organised by the National Service Scheme as part of the Gandhi Jayanti week celebrations in association with the Agriculture Department. Prior to entering the paddy field, the students underwent an orientation programme organised by the Agriculture Department.

The Kareepra Agricultural Officer, S. Geetha Kumari said that following the orientation programme the students began exhibitng their farming talents. They were taught to grow paddy under the one seedling rice method which is a new technique. The seeds were sown on October 2.

In the interim, the students tilled and prepared the field, which is a spread of forty cents called the Plakode paddy field. Ms. Geetha Kumari said the programme was also part of a paddy cultivation promotion campaign of the State government. Mr. Suresh Kumar said it was a thrilling experience for the students.

For the next 120 days, the students will tend to the field. Harvest will be in January and the whole crop will be harvested by the students themselves. They will be trained for it. Ms. Geetha Kumari said that at least half a tonne of paddy is expected on harvest. The school has a proposal to gift the harvest to below the poverty line families living at a nearby colony, Mr. Suresh Kumar said.