SUBJECT : Nod for paddy field reclamation kicks up a row

Revenue Department says the project is found to be more eco-friendly

March 6th: Clearances accorded by the Revenue Department for reclaiming 420 acres of Methran Kayal backwater paddy fields at Kumarakom village in Kottayam taluk and 47 acres of paddy field at Kadamakkudy grama panchayat in Ernakulam district for private ventures have triggered a row.

The order for reclaiming 420 acres of paddy field for an eco tourism project was issued on March 1 and for the 47 acres was issued on March 2. The first order says that the company, Rakindo Kumarakom Resort Private Limited had purchased 378 acres paddy fields in the name of 34 subsidiary companies under its ambit in 2007-08 and there was no cultivation since 2007.

The company had submitted the Kumarakom Tourist Resort Village project to the government in 2009 and it was cleared too. Since there were some ecological problems, certain changes were made in the project to make it more eco-friendly by adding farm tourism and allied projects.

The order says that the new project was found to be more eco-friendly and paddy cultivation was not possible in the current context.

The new project was expected to bring in investment to the tune of Rs.2,200 crore and help to register the presence of Kerala’s tourism sector in the international circuit.

Hence, it has directed the District Collector to consider the project.

Second order

The second order for the setting up a super-speciality hospital which was projected to bring in investment worth Rs.1,000 crore and create 7,000 job opportunities on completion.

Though the government had claimed that both projects would not go against the provisions of the paddy field and wetland conservation Acts, the alleged haste shown by the government for pushing the proposals just before the declaration of the election notification had come in for criticism. For, this is feared to have serious ecological ramifications and also hamper the steps claimed to have been initiated by the government for conserving wetlands and paddy fields.

Source: The Hindu