Udupi school inspires MLA to take the lead in cultivation of fallow land

A fallow paddy field being prepared for cultivation of paddy in Udupi district.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A school in Udupi bringing 50 acres of fallow land under cultivation last year to mark its golden jubilee has prompted the Udupi MLA to take the lead in paddy cultivation on 2,000 acres of fallow land in his Assembly constituency this year.

Nittur High School in Udupi, managed by Nittur Educational Society, had encouraged 80 to 100 families to cultivate paddy on their lands which had been left fallow for years. The initiative was the brainchild of the then school headmaster Murali Kadekar.

“The families could get 30 tonnes of rice from about 45 tonnes of paddy cultivated organically,” said Mr. Kadekar, who has now retired. The rice is now being sold at ₹50 per kilogram.

K. Raghupati Bhat, MLA and president of the society, has now floated a trust called ‘Kedarottana’, headed by him, to grow paddy organically on 2,000 acres of fallow land. The councillors of Udupi City Municipal Council and presidents of gram panchayats are its members as his constituency comprises 19 gram panchayats and 35 CMCS wards.

Mr. Bhat told The Hindu that there could be more than 7,000 acres of fallow paddy land under his constituency. The trust will take the lead to promote paddy on 2,000 acres for three years by providing the support required to the families. Later, the families will have to continue the cultivation without depending on the trust. “Those paddy fields have been fallow for 25 to 30 years,” he said.

Brand name

Work on levelling of land, removal of garbage, and creation of water channels have already begun on the fallow land in areas such as Parkala, Kakkunje, Chantaru, Haradi, and Kadekar. “Once the harvest is done, the rice will be sold in the brand name of the trust,” Mr. Bhat said.

H. Kempe Gowda, Joint Director of Agriculture, Udupi, said 10 quintals of paddy per acre can be grown under the organic method in Udupi and 16 quintals can be cultivated per acre by using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The department will provide guidance and technical support to the trust.

Meanwhile, Kota Srinivasa Poojary, Minister in charge of Dakshina Kannada, has instructed the Agriculture Department to encourage paddy cultivation on 2,412.75 hectares left fallow in his district by motivating the owners.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 10:35:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/udupi-school-inspires-mla-to-take-the-lead-in-cultivation-of-fallow-land/article34459188.ece

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