KSEB wants to clear farmer’s ‘Onam crops' cultivation on government land

Meanwhile, KSEB officials said they had briefed Nelson about the issue at least two weeks ago.
Nelson K K is facing the threat of losing his crops
Nelson K K is facing the threat of losing his crops Photo | T P Sooraj

KOCHI: A tussle between the Kerala State Electricity Board and an award-winning farmer cultivating plantains and other vegetables on vacant government land in Kakkanad escalated on Wednesday as the electricity board officials arrived to chop down the crop, which was grown for the Onam harvest.

Nelson K K, who is into interior work, turned his attention to farming after the state government encouraged people to grow vegetables on its idle land some four seasons ago. But this time, KSEB wants to cut down the plantain trees as a high-voltage tower is being set up on the property. Nelson – named Thrikkakara municipality’s best farmer in 2022 – wants the KSEB officials to wait for two or three months, until the harvest season.

KSEB has cut down crops in the past too. Last August, a farmer from Puthuppady near Muvattupuzha lost 400 banana trees after the electricity board officials chopped them off without intimation, citing the presence of a high-tension power line on the land.

In Nelson’s case, around 600 plantain trees and other vegetables – including brinjal, ladies finger, tomato, and a wide variety of yams – are now at the mercy of KSEB officials.

“Last week, KSEB told me to vacate the land as soon as possible. We are ready to move out from the place. But we need some more time to make the harvest,” said Nelson, his face betraying deep despair.

“We spent around Rs 3 lakh on fertilisers and irrigation, eyeing the upcoming Onam season,” said Nelson.His wife, children aged 15 and 12, and father too had helped with the farming.

“I started farming on this land with the support of the agriculture department, revenue department, Horticorp, and the other authorities concerned. But all of a sudden KSEB is raising its claim on the land,” he added.

K S Jithin, the owner of a Meat Products of India and Matsyafed outlet operating near the farmland, also came out in support of Nelson. “We have seen the hard work put in by Nelson and his family. I feel bad for him as he’s forced to leave the land by the intervention of KSEB,” Jithin said.

Meanwhile, KSEB officials said they had briefed Nelson about the issue at least two weeks ago.

“We are undertaking development work in the area. He shouldn’t see this as personal vengeance. We are ready for a discussion with the Ernakulam district administration and will take action as per the directive,” a KSEB official said.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com