A series of ongoing as well as proposed projects have brought accolades for the Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) of the Akathethara grama panchayat.
Accepting certificates from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the second State Biodiversity Congress held at Meenchanda, Kozhikode, the other day, Akathethara BMC members exuded confidence that they would make the panchayat the best in the State in biodiversity conservation.
BMC member Lijo Panangadan said that the ‘forest food garden’ project being implemented at the Sasthanagar and Kunnampara graveyards was appreciated by many conservationists. The project aims to convert the graveyards into a wooded haven for all living beings by planting fruit trees available in the panchayat.
The project is being implemented in association with the Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme, Agriculture department and Sahyadri Nature Organisation.
Mr. Panangadan said that the BMC had not only an office of its own, but also a seminar hall, and a reading room and reference library containing books on environment, history and heritage as well.
The Akathethara BMC is undertaking bird surveys, herpetofauna surveys, and socio-ecological surveys, photo exhibitions and awareness drives as part of updating the People’s Biodiversity Registry. The BMC is associating with several agencies, including the Natural History Society of Palakkad and the State Forest and Wildlife department.
The Akathethara panchayat, in a resolution on February 13, declared all history and heritage related constructions and relics as protected structures. Thus it became the first local body in the State to protect ‘athanis’ or stones or structures used as porter’s resting places. Seven athanis in the panchayat were declared protected structures in association with the Palghat History Club.
The panchayat, in its resolution, also declared 4.5 acres of land at Kunnampara as a biodiversity park.
Mr. Panangadan told The Hindu that several projects were in the pipeline to promote biodiversity conservation in the region. He said a model arboretum project in association with the Social Forestry department, an eco-friendly cultural centre, an eco-friendly playground, a mini tourism project, a rain view point, and a palmyra palm project were among them.
A butterfly corridor project, a grand old tree conservation project, an old-age friendly trek path and cycle track project, a garden for the physically challenged, and certificate programmes for children and elders in birdwatching, butterfly watching, biodiversity conservation, herpetofauna observation, wetland conservation, and history and heritage documentation are some of the projects being taken up by the BMC.
Akathethara panchayat president Sunita Ananthakrishnan, BMC members Satheesh Pulikkal, Manju Murali and Sajith accompanied Mr. Panangadan.