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Multi-crore Kuttanad package now brings woes to farmers

  • J.S. Bablu
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Makes flood situation worse; strengthening of bunds of paddy polders hit

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE:Irrigation department officials are neglecting the real issues being faced by farmers in the name of the Kuttanad project.— file photo
LOST IN THE SHUFFLE:Irrigation department officials are neglecting the real issues being faced by farmers in the name of the Kuttanad project.— file photo

Why should people suffer when a multi-crore project is underway in a region? The Rs 1,840-crore Kuttanad package, launched in September 2010, aims at the overall development of the region and its people.

However, after the launch of the project, even the basic works like strengthening of outer bunds of paddy polders are not being done in the name of the package, making the flood situation worse.

“Earlier, the Irrigation Department undertook works for strengthening outer bunds at paddy polders in Kuttanad. Usually, the panchayat, passes a resolution asking the department to undertake the works. But once the package came, the officials of the department said the work should be implemented under the package,” said S.Sudhimon, president of the Kainakary grama panchayat, one of the panchayats that bore the brunt of the recent floods.

‘Not transparent’

District panchayat president Pratibha Hari said the Kutanad package had become ‘an official-oriented’ package.

“The non-transparent nature of the package give no information on the project that are being implemented. The farmers, who earlier undertook the repair works of the bunds on their own, are now in the dark about the package. They don’t’t know how to go about it now,” she said.

Fr. Thomas Peeliyanickal, executive director of Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy (KVS), an NGO, said that before the package came, Irrigation Department used to undertake strengthening of outer bunds of paddy polders and construction of side walls of the small canals. “The non-implementation of the works under the package led to weakening of the outer bunds and bund breach in many paddy polders.

A 350-metre wide channel for the flow of water from the tributaries of the Pampa and Manimala has not yet opened as the bund strengthening works of the C block was not completed under the package.

The water now flows through a 100 metre wide channel. This will definitely aggravate the flood situation,” he said.

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