Kerala Budget 2020 | ₹2,400-cr. package brings cheer for Kuttanad

Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala, has plenty to cheer about in the 2020-21 State Budget presented by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on Friday.

Dr. Isaac said the Planning Board had prepared a package of ₹2,400 crore for Kuttanad. The second Kuttanad package would be implemented considering the experiences learned from the deluge with eco restoration of the Vembanad wetland ecosystem, farming, development and flood mitigation high on the government’s agenda.

The Budget proposes to get Vembanad Lake rid of plastic waste with the help of fisherfolk. Besides, the absorption capacity of the backwaters will be enhanced by mechanised lifting of muddy sludge from the backwater swamp. A sum of ₹10 crore has been earmarked for the purposes.

“A massive scheme with the financial assistance of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) will be implemented to draw sludge and sediment from the backwaters and canals. It will be utilised for widening the outer bunds and to strengthen them with suitable methodologies,” Dr. Isaac said.

The Minister said a scheme for deepening and cleaning of all canals on the banks of Vembanad Lake would be implemented in the ensuing summer. Further, it proposes the opening of the Thanneermukkom bund at least for one year for cleaning Kuttanad.

T.D. Jojo, project coordinator, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), said the proposal to remove plastic and opening of the Thanneermukkom bund would help ecological restoration of the Vembanad backwater system and improve livelihood of the people depended on the waterbody.

“The opening of the bund will increase salinity in the lake and will help to revive clam and fish population,” Mr. Jojo said.

Apart from restoring the wetland system, ₹74 crore has been earmarked to the Irrigation Department for flood control measures in Kuttanad. This will be utilised for construction of outer bunds and removal of sediments. “In the current year’s plan, ₹20 crore is earmarked for agriculture, ₹11 crore to inland fish farming and ₹7 crore to duck farming. The outlay for roads and bridges of the PWD for which permission has been granted or construction amounts to ₹385 crore. Apart from this, ₹50 crore is earmarked for post-flood road renovation works. Thus, ₹750 crore will be expended from the Budget provision for Kuttanad,” he said. Sources said that major projects under the Kuttanad package would be implemented through KIIFB.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 8:14:07 AM |

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