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Green hopes sprout in Organic Vypeen

Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar will convene a meet on Wednesday to discuss the implementation of Organic Vypeen.

Published: 02nd April 2018 05:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2018 05:55 AM   |  A+A-

An aerial view of Vypeen Islands where big projects take root  Albin Mathew

By Express News Service

Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar will convene a meet on Wednesday to discuss the implementation of Organic Vypeen.The project facilitates paddy and shrimp farming in the same field alternately

KOCHI: Hopes of an improved livelihood have sprouted for the farmers in Vypeen Islands with Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar convening a meeting on April 4 to discuss the implementation of Organic Vypeen, a project conceived to enable dual farming in the Pokkali fields.

The decision comes in the wake of the study report submitted by National Centre for Earth Sciences Studies (NCESS) which recommended the project can be implemented without violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) restrictions.

“The Agriculture Minister has convened a meeting on April 4 to discuss the implementation of the project. The NCESS study has mapped the area and the impact on the coastal zone. Now we have to conduct a study to assess the environmental impact. It is a project to ensure a steady flow of water to the Pokkali fields to facilitate paddy cultivation and shrimp farming in the same field alternately. It is an eco-friendly project and we are confident about its implementation, said S Sarma MLA, who represents Vypeen constituency in the Assembly.The project is envisaged to facilitate the integrated agricultural development of the villages of Kadamakkudy, Nayarambalam, Edavanakkad, Pallippuram, and Ezhikkara villages.

Administrative sanction was provided on March 13, 2015, based on a study report prepared by Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO).The project aims dredging and removal of sediments accumulated in Veerampuzha to enable a free flow of water to the pokkali fields.

Pokkali system is the dual farming method of growing pokkali, a saline water resistant paddy variety and shrimps in the same farm alternately. Paddy cultivation is undertaken in the pokkali fields during the April- October season, while shrimps and prawns are cultivated from November to April. Sluice gates have been provided to regulate the flow of water from Vembanad Lake to the pokkali fields.
The study found that sediment accumulation is hampering the flood and ebb tidal exchange between Vembanad Lake and the Pokkali fields. It underscores the need to desilt the canals and Veerampuzha to maintain natural water flow.

Earlier the authorities were forced to stop dredging work in Veerampuzha river and 10 canals in Kadamakkudy following stiff resistance from local residents against dumping of the earth dredged from the lake.

“The Kerala Land Development Corporation had approached us to conduct a study and provide a CRZ status report and maps to facilitate CRZ clearance for the proposed Organic Vypeen project. The area falls under Coastal Regulation Zone and no construction activity can be taken up there. The Organic Vypeen project is an eco-friendly project to promote farming activities and it is permissible if there are no violations. However, the state needs to conduct an environmental impact study to assess if it poses any threat to the environment. The State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority has to conduct a study to get clearance from the Environment Ministry,” said National Centre for Earth Science Studies scientist K K Ramachandran, who was part of the study team.

As per, the CRZ notification, activities directly related to  waterfront operations or directly needing foreshore facilities like ports and harbours, jetties, quays, wharves, erosion control measures, breakwaters, pipelines, lighthouses, navigational safety facilities and coastal police stations are permissible in the coastal zone. However activities like Organic Vypeen, which involves facilitation of agricultural activities do not figure in the CRZ notification, the study observed.



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