The special team constituted by District Collector P I Sheik Pareeth to probe into the alleged destruction of the Pokkali farming at Maruivakkad village in Chellanam will submit the report to the Collector on Friday.
The Pokkali cultivation was damaged last month after unidentified men broke the bund, thus allowing the muddy water to enter the field. The Collector had formed a special team consisting of Fisheries Deputy Director and Chellanam Village Officer after Pokkali Protection Forum (PTF) petitioned the district administration.V Jain, Chellanam Village Officer, said they have conducted a field verification. “We have finalised the report. It will be submitted to the Collector on Friday,” she said and added that the Pokkali field was damaged. “There is no police case as of now. All dimensions have mentioned in the report,” she said. Meanwhile, PTF general convener Francis Kalathunkal said the forum will fight until the violators are brought to book.
“There is an organised prawns lobby who wants to make extra profit by damaging the pokkali cultivation on the coastal belt. It was after several initiatives that the district administration of Alappuzha and Ernakulam came with an executive order to protect the pokkali. But, the prawns mafia is violating the law,” Francis said. The traditional farmers in this districts alternate pokkali cultivation with prawns farming. The time period between June to November mid is traditionally reserved for pokkali.
“The opening of the bund in late September is atrocious.. If prawns farming is done through out the year, it will damage the entire ecosystem. High salt content can cause fissures in the concrete structures and the neighbouring houses will be damaged. It will also contaminate the fresh water sources and create drinking water shortage. If fresh water gets contaminated, it will affect fresh water fishes also. Increased salt content will ruin the traditional legume vegetables, which are cultivated in organic way in the pokkali bunds,” Francis said.
V P Antony, Chellanam panchayat member and a traditional pokkali farmer, said the pokkali cultivation is increasingly becoming unviable.
“The traditional farmers find it difficult to go ahead with pokkali farming. The problems like sea rage, increasing production cost and lack of availability of agricultural workers are some major issues affecting the farmers. The authorities should immediately address the issue in a holistic manner,” he said.