Land trouble hampers research in native crops
The refusal of the University of Mysore to give about 12 acres of land to the horticulture department has affected the scientific research to increase the productivity and extend the area of cultivation of the famous ‘Nanjangud Rasabale’ (Nanjangud banana) and ‘Mysore Villedele’ (Mysore betel leaves).
Both ‘Nanjangud Rasabale’ and ‘Mysore Villedele’ got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag a few years ago because of their uniqueness.
The state government earmarked Rs 6 crore in its budget to take up scientific studies of these native crops. The horticulture department wants to set up a research centre for the same next to a Centre for Excellence established by the University of Mysore on the banks of the famous Kukkarahali lake. The university was given this land about 40 years ago.
The department has asked the university to allot 12 acres. It has plans to conduct research on Mysore Mallige (Mysore jasmine) along with ‘Nanjangud Rasabale’ and ‘Mysore Villedele’. “Then, we scaled down our demand and asked the university to spare at least six acres for our research centre. But there has been no response from many years,” said M K Shankarlinge Gowda, principal secretary to the horticulture department.
Vice-chancellor K S Rangappa told Express: “There are only 3 to 4 acres of land next to the centre and we need it for the Administrative Staff College. The horticulture department’s request is still pending with us and we need to place it before the university’s Syndicate to take a decision (on the matter).”
Gowda said, “Since there was no positive response from the university officials, our hopes of taking up research into the banana variety, betel leaves and jasmine have crashed.”
“The purpose of our research centre is to motivate farmers of Nanjangud and surrounding areas to take up cultivation of this particular variety of plantain on large-scale, educate farmers and hone their skills.”
He said the banks of Kukkarahalli is the ideal place for the research centre. “Besides, the water is available throughout the year, thanks to Kukkarahalli lake. We are shifting our activities with a heavy heart,” he added.
The department will now set up the research centre at Nachanahalli, on the outskirts of Mysore, where a horticulture college is coming up soon. But this location is not ideal for the research involved, Gowda regretted.
The red soil and Kapila river water are the main reasons for the banana variety’s uniqueness. Because of its special taste, it is sold at `10-12 per piece. Its yield is not more than 20 plantains in each bunch. Scientists are not able to carry out tissue culture of this variety. We have plans to set up a mushroom centre also,” he said.