Coming out heavily against Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s proposal not to oppose to conversion of paddy fields for other uses, the Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) said that on the contrary steps should be taken to strictly implement provisions of the Paddy and Wetland Conservation Act.
If the provisions of the Act were diluted, it would have very serious implications on the food and water security of the state. Ahluwalia’s proposal will be dismissed by the people of this state, it said. The argument that the state can ensure food security if there is sufficient cash is dangerous thinking, the Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad said.
It should be remembered that other states had banned the flow of rice to the state when there was drought, the KSSP said.
‘’We do not say that we can produce all that is needed from the paddy fields of the state. The state is able to produce about 8 lakh tonnes of rice. The state should strengthen this base,’’ KSSP president K T Radhakrishnan said in a statement here.
The KSSP also said that the protection of paddy field was not just for ensuring food security but also for preserving the paddy ecosystem which has rich biodiversity, he said. It should be noted that in countries like Japan where agriculture has dwindled to only a few green patches the government is spending public money for the preservation of paddy fields.
The KSSP said that the tourists were coming to the state not for playing golf but for enjoying the beauty of the state.
If tourism has to sustain, then there should be lakes, paddy fields and greenery, it added.