KOCHI: The State Government has decided to go ahead with the Metran Kayal farming project, despite protests from various quarters against the move.
There were allegations that de-watering of the Metran Kayal, as proposed by the Agriculture Department, would affect the fish fauna of Vembanadu lake and the ecology of the region.
According to the Fisheries Department, de-watering of paddy fields will not cause any harm to adult and young fish as the entire stock, including the young ones, are drained back into the lake ecosystem during the process. De-watering of paddy fields is done using pumps, and water flowing out of the fields is controlled by sluice gates.
De-watering is also done using another method called ‘petti and para.’ The process does not cause any harm to the fish in the region.
According to Fisheries-Central Zone joint director K K Satheesh Kumar, wherever paddy cultivation is carried out, the first process is to strengthen the bunds bordering the area and the next is de-watering. “During de-watering, the fish will go back to the nearest water bodies, and therefore the process will not affect the fish habitat in anyway. In some areas of the State, especially Kuttanad, paddy cultivation and fish farming are done even in rotation.
According to the government, certain paddy land owners have come forward to carry out cultivation in Metran Kayal, which comes under the definition of ‘paddy land’ under the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wet land Act-2008. It is mandatory that paddy is cultivated in the fallow paddy land every year.
Hence, the government has been making earnest efforts to ensure that the paddy lands are made fit for cultivation.