MALAPPURAM: Immaterial of whether they are cultivated or not, farmlands and paddy fields in Ponnani will bring in profits! The innovative project - ‘Green Royalty’ - is set to make Ponnani municipality the first civic body in the state that pays landowners for fields, ponds and groves. Aimed at promoting agriculture and retaining ecosystems, ‘Green Royalty’ features monthly payment for farmers. Owners of paddy fields, ponds and groves will be paid for nature preservation. “Farmers deserve financial support as they feed us,” Municipal chairman C P Mohamed Kunhi told Express.
“And people who preserve their fields, ponds and groves help us retain the entire ecosystem. While others earn huge profits by filling and developing their land for commercial purposes, people leaving land as it is left with no gain. Their loss is a gain for society. We are looking to pay for this gain.”
The municipality believes `25 lakh could be spent towards ‘Green Royalty,’ having included the project in the list of innovative projects for the fiscal 2017-’18. “There are some technical problems. But we have decided to go ahead with the project,” he said. Ahead of its implementation, the municipality will conduct a survey to list out the beneficiaries. The exact amount will be decided after that process.
“The allocation for ‘Green Royalty’ will be revised as per the survey findings,” the municipal chairman said.
Environmentalists and ecologists are all praise for the project. “We have been demanding the state government introduce ‘Green Royalty’ for the past few decades,” said P Sundarraj, chairman, Jilla Paristhithi Koottayma. Kerala State Biodiversity Board chairman Oommen V Oommen said: “If all civic bodies come up with such ideas, the state will benefit. We could submit a proposal to the state government with certain recommendations in this regard.”
Terming it a positive move, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said his department is also looking to introduce such systems to promote farming and preservation of paddy fields.