The state government’s decision to acquire 20 acres of land from the Fisheries Station, Puthuvype, for the LNG power plant, could prove to be a setback for the much-celebrated Kuttanad Package. For, the fisheries station is one of the major contributors of mangrove seedlings for the package.
According to officials at the Fisheries Station, the station has so far distributed about 1.16 lakh seedlings of mangrove species for the Kuttanad Package. “The Forest Department ,too, collects seedlings from us for the Kuttanad Package,” said K Dinesh, head of the Fisheries Station, the off-campus research station of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS).
Availability of seedlings at affordable rates is the primary reason for buying seedlings from the fisheries station, said forest officials. “In 2011-12, the Social Forestry wing in Alappuzha had bought about 73,000 seedlings from the fisheries station. We opted for the fisheries station as it’s a government agency and the seedlings were available at affordable rates,” said S Sree Kumar, ACF (Social Forestry) Alappuzha. In addition to this, the Kottayam social forestry division had also bought seedlings for the Kuttanad Package. As part of the Kuttanad package, the Forest Department is distributing saplings to various local bodies also.
Meanwhile there are widespread protests against the government move to acquire 20-acres of land from the fisheries station.