Departments urged to work in tandem

Staff Reporter
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Kuttanad Package implementation reviewed

Coordinated effort by all departments concerned is necessary for the effective implementation of the Kuttanad Package, agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, MP, has said.

Taking part in a review meeting of the Rs.1,840-crore package at the collectorate here on Monday, Dr. Swaminathan said the implementation (of the package) had been satisfactory.

Minister for Water Resources P.J. Joseph told the meeting that K. Biju, IAS, had been appointed Project Director to oversee the implementation.

Ecological security

The ecological security of the Kuttanad wetland ecosystem and sustainable livelihood opportunities for the people of the area were focus areas of the package, he told reporters.

“We will ensure that the money is utilised,” Dr. Swaminathan said.

The Union government was committed to preserving the ecosystem of Kuttanad. Such steps were necessary for the promotion of tourism as well, he said.

“Bad ecosystem means bad business. There are challenging tasks, but, I am sure, these can be addressed,” he said.

He also welcomed the State government's Budget proposal to set up an international centre at Kuttanad to study farming below sea level.

Watershed projects

He expressed hope that the 12 watershed projects for the Onattukara region, mentioned in the package, would be completed by April 2013.

Mr. Joseph said tenders had been invited for works costing Rs. 379 crore under the package. Sanction had been accorded to works worth Rs. 248.39 crore for the Onattukkara part of the package. Tenders would be floated for seven of the 12 watershed projects in the Onattukkara area in 20 days, the Minister said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would chair a Prosperity Council meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on April 18, he said. (The council oversees the implementation of the package).

AC canal widening

The widening of the Alappuzha-Changanassery (AC) canal phase will be limited to 30 metres for practical reasons though the M.S. Swaminathan Commission had suggested 50 metres. The detailed estimate for the first phase of the project, up to Nedumudi, had been prepared, he said. The report on the Thaneermukkom bund and Thottappally spillway by the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, had been received. The College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET) had been entrusted with the task of preparing a detailed draft. CET is expected to submit it in two months, he said. C.F. Thomas, C.K. Sadasivan, Thomas Chandy, A.M. Arif, and R. Rajesh, MLAs; district panchayat president U. Pratibha Hari; Principal Secretary, Water Resources, V.J. Kurian; District Collector V. Ratheeshan; Kuttanad Package Chief Engineer P. Anilkumar; and farmers took part.



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