While the row over the legalisation of paddy- land filling prior to 2005 is getting louder and louder, little voices from the generation next are also joining in.
School students from across the state, on a request from poet Sugathakumari, have been sending hundreds of letters to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to save whatever is left of the paddyfields.
Sources from the Chief Minister’s office said the number of letters from students have crossed the fourfigure mark.
Sugathakumari, who received a copy of the same from most of the students, said the response from the children had been wonderful and that the number of copies that she herself received ran into thousands.
“It was purely out of pain that I asked the children to do this. Without paddy fields, hills and water they are the ones who will suffer ultimately. Besides, when children ask, I don’t think the Chief Minister will have the heart to disregard them,” Sugathakumari said.
The letters came in as groups and individually. Some of the eco clubs and green corps like the Harita Club of the Saraswathy Vidya Mandir, here, responded almost immediately to the poet’s request.”How could we not” started one letter.
Some of them like Manna Reji from Chingavanam said that she loved the emerald green paddy fields and hoped the government would do something about protecting them.
She even posted two of her poems titled ‘Nelpadam’ and ‘Kerabhoomi’ to Sugathakumari.
Many students were honest enough to confess that they had never even seen the plants and animals that the ‘teacher’ talked about in her letter such as ‘Manathukanni’, ‘Kannanthali’, or even the ‘Kakkapoo’.
The students from GVHSS Koodal said thay they were on a hunt for original ‘Parijatham’ for the last three years.
Sugathakumari had explained to the students in a most simple manner about the importance of retaining paddy-fields not just for food, but also for maintaining the ecological balance and the biodiversity connected with the paddy-fields.
Reiterating that the paddyfields are a blessing to the state, she asked the students to tell the Chief Minister that water and food are much more important than airports and resorts.
Which the students did, quite faithfully. It was on the Environment Day on June 5 that Sugathakumari wrote this beautiful letter, that explained how paddy fields contribute to ground-water, food-security, women’s employment and biodiversity.
She even talked of hopping frogs, snails, water-spiders, grass-hoppers and even fireflies that are destroyed when the hills are broken down and used to fill the paddy-fields. Right from June 5, children across the state had been planning and executing her request.
Some of the schools from where the students have responded include Dr Ambedkar Vidyaniketan, Thiruvananthapuram, GVHSS, Eravipuram, MHSS Puthenkavu, GFUP School, Kasargod, SKV Government UPS, Kallara, Holy Family HSS, Alappuzha, St Philomena’s Government High School, Poonthura and GHSS Mezhathoor.