Muriyad farmers call off stir

Staff Reporter

Talks between government, agitators successful

Farmers to be given facilities for

Puncha Krishi

Thrissur: Karshaka Munnettam, an agitation by the Muriyad Kayal Krishi Samrakshana Samithi, was called off on Saturday evening following talks between the government and agitators at the Thrissur Collectorate.

Varghese Thoduparambil, chief organiser of Munnettam, ended his 12-day hunger strike by drinking lemon juice offered by Sukumar Azhikode, writer and social activist. As he sipped the juice, the farmers shouted slogans in support of Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan and V.M. Sudheeran, Congress leader.

“We hope the LDF [Left Democratic front] government will honour the promises it made in the presence of Prof. Azhikode and writer Sara Joseph. From agitation, we now move to our vocation: agriculture,” Mr. Varghese said.

Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran said the government would take immediate and long-term steps to solve the problems faced by Muriyad farmers.

“The farmers will be given facilities to start Puncha Krishi by November 15. The government has directed the Principal Agriculture Officer to submit a report by October 22. A five-member expert committee has been constituted to study the problems in Muriyad and formulate measures to streamline irrigation in the region,” he said.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said the police would be directed to withdraw all cases against farmers, including the one against Mr. Varghese.

“A monitoring committee constituted by the district administration has been dissolved. The government has banned sand-mining and quarrying in the Muriyad region. The issues raised by sand-mining and tile-industry workers will be discussed with trade unions. The government is studying a case related to issuing permits for sand-mining in which the High Court initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against the Thrissur District Collector. The government will seek legal advice and protect the Collector,” he said.

“The Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Bill shows the Government’s commitment to environmental protection, food security and agriculture development.”

Prof. Azhikode said the Government responded sensibly and favourably to the farmers’ agitation. “Both sides — the government and the agitators — won.”

Ms. Sara Joseph said the farmers would win only if the government kept its promises and the paddy fields were cultivable. “I hope the government will keep its word.”

Thomas Unniyadan, MLA; Distict Collector M. Beena; Agriculture Production Commissioner K. Jayakumar; Revenue Divisional Officer Suresh Babu; Additional District Magistrate P.M. Francis; and other senior officials took part in the talks.

Recommended for you