ALAPPUZHA: After 20 years, farming in the chithira paddy polders in the Vembanad Lake will begin next Sunday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will sow paddy seeds on the land reclaimed by Kayal King Murickan that has turned barren due to exploitative forces and the indifference of officials.
The District Administration and Agriculture Department initiated steps to begin farming in the barren fields of Rani and Chithira last January. The departments, with the help of farmers, turned the 406-acre land in the 715-acre paddy polder suitable for cultivation. Paddy polders here have succumbed to the indiscriminate mining of white clam shells. Deep trenches are visible as a result of the illegal dredging.
District Collector N Padmakumar visited the land on Wednesday, for evaluating the arrangements made. The Collector said that the 300-acres in the paddy polder will be levelled and farming will begin from the next season. About 20 tonnes of ‘Uma’ paddy seeds will be used for sowing. The water from the polders was removed using about 5 motors having a capacity of 40 and 60 horse power. About one month was taken to dewater the polder, the Collector said. He said that the about 98 per cent of the works of strengthening the outer bunds were completed in the Chithira polder. Rs 24 crore from the Kuttanad package was utilised for the purpose. Rs 90 lakh was utilised for drawing electric lines to the paddy polder, he said. The Padasekhara Samithi will utilise about Rs 4 crore for farming.