KOCHI: With the Kerala government launching a special drive to evict all organisations and establishments located or operating in government land, a society that has been at the forefront when it comes to taking care of the city’s ‘green’ needs has found itself in a tight spot.
The district’s Agri-horticulture Society, which has been functioning out of a small building located on six cents of land in the compound of the old collectorate, recently received an eviction notice asking it to move out.
“It should be noted that the society was established in 1976 as per the direction of the state government,” pointed out a member of the society’s governing body, on the condition of anonymity. The society has the district collector as the president and the GCDA, corporation, agriculture directors as members, he said.
“Another fact that makes the society stand out is its flower-fruit tree-saplings nursery — the first such to be set up in the district. It’s a non-profit organisation and does not have any means of earning a revenue. Whatever we get from the sales of saplings and plants in the nursery is poured into conducting activities like distributing saplings for tree planting drives held every environment day. Also, the plants in the nursery are sold at a nominal rate,” he explained.
According to the society member, other organisations that received the notices have the necessary revenue to relocate. “In fact, we had earlier proposed a lease model to the government. But nothing happened on that front. But even if we lease the place, we will have to pay around Rs 1.6 crore as a down payment — an amount we will never be able to realise. Only the government can help us out,” he said.
Further, the society plays an important role in Kochi’s tourism sector as well, the member said. “For the past 38 years, it has been organising the flower show in Kochi. It has even donated an amount of Rs 8 lakh to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). Besides, we have been giving vegetable seeds and also tissue culture banana saplings free to those visiting the flower show,” he added.