THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s an open war against pesticides. The city has deployed its ‘soldiers’ to fight the menace. More than 7,000 houses in the city have roped in the services of the Karshika Karma Sena (KKS), a government-sponsored organisation that provides everything needed to set up a vegetable garden on the rooftop. More and more houses are now willing to set up the vegetable gardens.
KKS has 106 members who will provide plastic bags, soil, manure, saplings and everything else, so that you only would have to take care of it properly. Each house will be given 25 bags containing saplings of ladies finger, tomato, brinjal, green chilli, cauliflower, cabbage, amaranthus etc. Not just planting, the KKS will provide service too. And all these absolute free of cost.
The popular programme is part of the Vegetable Initiative for Urban Clusters (VIUC) being funded under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. The State Horticulture Mission is funding the project. The VIUC is being implemented through residents’ associations.
Individuals interested in arranging the rooftop vegetable garden have to pay Rs 1,500. Around 2,500 individuals have so far used the paid service.
The VIUS project was launched two months ago. The plastic bags, which contain holes to drain excess water, are placed over two bricks. The bags can be used for three years. The KKS will provide services like pest control and manuring. Some of the vegetables can be harvested within one-and-a-half months. The KKS will help in resetting the garden after the required period with a meagre amount of Rs 5 per bag.
C L Mini, agricultural officer, said KKS was formed to implement the People’s Plan Programme of the Kudappanakkunnu grama panchayat three years ago. “It began with arranging vegetable farms for 400 families with 15 per cent subsidy provided by the panchayat. With more and more houses demanding the facility, State Horticulture Mission decided to implement it in Corporation limits by roping in the services of organisations like KKS,” she said.
KKS was formed to provide jobs for youths in the agriculture sector. Apart from rooftop farming, it provides agriculture-related services such as fallow land cultivation, pest control methods, mechanisation etc.
K K Hari, a resident of PTP Nagar who has arranged a vegetable garden on his terrace with the support of KKS, said the project has many takers in the area. “Since the service is free of cost, more and more people are showing interest. In my case, I and my mother like farming. But we are arranging a rooftop garden for the very first time,” he said.