Friday, March 5, 2010

State breathes new life into paddy farming

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government has successfully employed the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to resurrect paddy cultivation in the state. This achievement is a first for the country.

Around 2841.24 hectares of fallow land have been brought under paddy cultivation under the (MGNREGS) in the current financial year. The projects had been implemented through Kudumbasree units.

Idukki district tops the list by making around 1,345 hectares of fallow land fit for cultivation. Close behind is Alappuzha where around 1,100 hectares of fallow land have been cultivated.

The other districts are: Kasargod - 25 hectares, Kannur - 4 hectares, Wayanad - 150 hectares, Kozhikode - 56 hectares, Malappuram - 4.54 hectares, Thrissur - 64 hectares, Kottayam - 66.86 hectares, Pathanamthitta - 6 hectares, Kollam - 16.84 hectares and Thiruvananthapuram - 3 hectares.

In Perambra grama panchayat of Kozhikode district, 140 acres of land, which had been left fallow for 20 years, had been brought under paddy cultivation.

``The land, which had been a dumping ground for waste materials, was prepared for paddy cultivation in 1,700 mandays. Later, 62 groups, comprising 5 people each, have started paddy cultivation. The harvesting will be done in April,� sources said. Similarly, 200 acres of fallow land each in the Chokli and Pattuvam panchayats of Kannur district have been identified for paddy cultivation. A harvest festival was held recently in 50 acres of land, hitherto called fallow, at Uduma pachayat in Kasargod district.

Besides, MGNREGS is one of the components in the massive fallow land cultivation being launched in nine panchayats of the Vadakkancheri Block in Thrissur district. Under the scheme, mud and silt in a 57-km-long canal was cleared and made fit for irrigation, which was the long-term demand of the farmers of the Block Panchayat.

�Taking a cue from the successful integration of MGNREGS and agriculture in the state, the Centre is planning to introduce a convergence of MGNREGS, Water Resources Projects and Social Forestry,�� highly placed sources told Express.

Unlike other states, the policy decision taken by the State Government was to utilise the MGNREGS mainly to revive agriculture, conservation of soil and water resources, regeneration of biomass and for women empowerment.

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