THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The fifth Panampilly Pratibha Puraskaram of Samskara Sahithi, the art and cultural wing of KPCC, was presented to noted agri-scientist Dr M S Swaminathan by Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah in the presence of noted dignitaries here on Monday.
Presenting the award, Abdullah lauded the pioneering efforts of Dr Swaminathan to the sustenance of the agricultural front in the country. “Not only India, many other nations too have benefited from his expertise,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that the contributions of Dr Swaminathan to the nation should be viewed against the backdrop of the fact that he rose from very humble beginnings and toiled really hard to come up. “The Dr M S Swaminathan Foundation is one of the pioneer research institutes in the country now,“ he noted.
Paddy Cultivation in Kuttanad
The M S Swaminathan Foundation will venture to formulate a document on the Below-Sea Level paddy cultivation of the Kuttanad belt, said Dr Swaminathan, in his reply speech after receiving the award. “Kuttanad is a globally important agricultural site, with a 140-year history. It has been listed as an Agricultural Heritage Zone,” he noted.
Swaminathan said that the cash component of the Panampilly award, amounting to ` 50,000, will be utilised to prepare the document.
He said that agriculture is part of art and culture which has evolved from a system of gathering of food to settled cultivation. “Agriculture is not only a solid energy harvesting enterprise, but also a mechanism for the effective sequestration of carbon. Kerala is a wonderful place for carbon co-operatives and how much carbon can be harvested is very important. Kudumbashree and similar organisations can be involved in the process,” he suggested.
“Ecological sustainability is very important,” he stressed. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, Rural Development Minister K C Joseph, Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed, Transport Minister V S Sivakumar, P J Kurien, poetess Sugathakumari, film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Sahitya Akademi chairman Perumbadavam Sreedharan spoke. Dr George Onakkoor read out the citation which was presented to Dr Swaminathan. Kavalam Sreekumar led a classical music concert prior to the meet.