THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday planted vegetable saplings on the Secretariat campus to mark the inauguration of the ‘Onathinorumuram Pachchakari,’ an Agriculture Department initiative encouraging the public to grow vegetables for the upcoming Onam festival. Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said the state grows just seven or eight lakh tonnes of vegetables though it requires 20 lakh tonnes per annum.
‘Onathinorumuram Pachchakari’ targets 63 lakh families in the state. The department intends to supply 63 lakh packets of seeds, 45 lakh saplings and over one lakh grow bags free of cost by July 15 as part of the initiative.
The project is linked to the Haritha Keralam Mission. It will be implemented with the support of homemakers, local bodies, Kudumbashree units, students, MGNREGA labourers, vegetable clusters, PSUs, youth and voluntary organisations, residents’ associations and various departments.
“As part of involving Secretariat employees, vegetable saplings will be grown in 1,000 grow bags atop the Secretariat annexe,” he said. Homemakers and groups also stand to win prizes, the minister said. The first prize at the state-level carries Rs 1 lakh, while the second and third prizes will be Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively. At the district level, the first prize will be Rs 15,000. The second and third prizes will be Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively.
Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan inaugurated a seed box at the Secretariat, a scheme to supply vegetable seeds free of cost to Secretariat employees.