Engg Students Turn 'Paddy Farmers'
By Lekshmi Mohan | Published: 07th January 2014 10:02 AM |
Amidst heavy pressure to convert paddy fields and lands for construction activities, even a small initiative to save such lands from further devastation acquires much significance.
A small portion of 7.5 hectares of unused land at Koliakode near Pappanamcode that was once a paddy field sprang to life recently when a group of ‘engineering hands and minds’ made it ready for cultivation. Around 50 students of Sri Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering who were part of the National Service Scheme (NSS) had a memorable initiation into paddy cultivation. The project was chalked out to make the government realise the need to conserve the fast-vanishing paddy fields.
‘’The project was taken up by the NSS. In the past few years, the NSS has successfully participated in activities of public good, including cleaning of canals. This year, in order to create an interest in farming and to protect the paddy fields and also to help the farmers in the area, we worked on the present idea,” said Arun M, NSS programme officer.
As many as 50 students entered the field along with experienced farmers at hand to guide them. They tilled and prepared the field, which is a spread over thirty cents and is called the Koliyakode paddy field. Arun said that it was a thrilling experience for the students. “Seeds were sown in the tilled land. The presence of the experienced farmers helped a lot. They were happy to share their knowledge with the young lot,” he said.
For the students, it was like using their leisure time after studies in a proper way, one which enriched them in many ways. This was their small step in bringing back paddy cultivation.
In fact, paddy fields in the area had come under threat as a canal that was a major source of water was blocked which forced the farmers to stop cultivation. Moreover, as the area is close to the National Highway, there are also chances of the area going in the hands of real-estate lobbies. “It is an area where cultivation could be made a great success. If no protective steps are taken, the land will no more remain a paddy field,” Arun said.
For the next few days, the students will engage in regular monitoring of the field. The harvest is planned for January 19 and the entire work will be carried out by the students themselves, for which they will be given training. A yield of at least 400 kilograms of paddy is expected.
“We are planning to gift the harvest to GW LP School at Koliakode where children from below the poverty line families study. And this will help these students in their noon meals,” said the principal of the engineering college Shaji Senadhipan.
The NSS unit is planning to turn the harvesting into a big celebration, an event that is being eagerly awaited by the students.