Deccan Chronicle

Malabar's rice bowl awaits redemption

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: August 18, 2016 | Updated on: August 18, 2016

Cherandathur Chira shrunk from 1,500 acres in the past to 300 acres.

Cherandathur Chira (file pic)

Cherandathur Chira (file pic)

Kozhikode: Cherandathur Chira, known as the rice bowl of Vadakara region, hopes the ongoing project will restore its glory in paddy cultivation. The Chira once boasted of 1,500 acres of paddy cultivation and supplied rice to all of Malabar. Land reclamation and construction activities over the years has shrunk the Chira to a mere 300 acres now.

To revive paddy cultivation here, the agriculture department has launched a Rs 1.46 crore project with central fund under the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme.

The first phase of the project is being implemented in 90 hectares of land and the Kerala Land Development Commission (KLDC) is the implementing agency.

"Water logging is the major problem here. To tackle this, construction of 15 pump houses has been envisaged under the project. Of this 10 have been constructed," said Sajeera C. Chathoth, Agriculture officer, Maniyur.

 The swamp would be done away with by pumping out water once the pumping stations get functional.

‘Puncha’ agrarian method is being practiced here due to the waterlogging.
Besides the project, the agriculture department and local self-government institutions provide various subsidies for the revival of Chira and thereby paddy cultivation.

"Maniyur gram panchayat will extend all support for the revival of the Chira. It was our pride and rejuvenation of the ‘rice bowl’ means going back to a healthy food habit," said Jayaprabha, gram panchayat president.

Small voluntary groups had shown that a united effort would fetch good results. Recently, a group of 17 young professionals, including Advocates tried paddy cultivation in a part of the Chira and reaped a good harvest.

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