Aimed at the comprehensive development of Wayanad district, the Left Democratic Front government has come forward with a Rs 7000 Wayanad development Package. Announcing the package at Kalpetta in Wayanad, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the package would change the face of the district and enrich the livelihood of the people.
He noted that the focus was to double the income from Coffee, one of the main crops in the districts, in five years. Apart from this, the LDF government has other programmes for the development of crops such as pepper, banana, ginger and tea. Tourism will also be get due importance, he added.
Vijayan said that the standard of living would get a boost in a planned manner while preserving the ecological balance.
PLANS ENVISAGED IN THE PACKAGE
The Chief Minister pointed out that the Coffee farmers were only getting 10 per cent of the retail price of coffee powder. The farmers should at least get 20 per cent. For this, the government aims to brand the coffee from Wayanad as “Waynad Coffee”. For this, a Kinfra mega food park costing Rs 150 crore will be set up in Kalpetta, he added.
“As the Farmers can’t wait until the park is complete to get a higher price, we are starting the Wayanad Coffee brand from now onwards. The production will start from the Brahmagiri Society’s coffee plant until the completion of the coffee park. An amount of Rs 5 crore was sanctioned in the budget for the expansion of this plant,” Vijayan said. Kudumbasree will soon launch 500 office vending machines and 100 kiosks for the marketing of Wayanad coffee, he said. An amount of Rs 20 crore was allotted to Kudumbasree, he added.
Carbon Neutral Wayanad
One of the important features of the global branding of Wayanad coffee powder is the carbon neutral coffee powder grown in the Wayanad hills. The government will formulate a plan to minimize carbon emissions in the district. This includes planting as many trees as possible, he added.
The Chief Minister pointed out that preliminary study on carbon emissions from various regions of Wayanad district was complete. The government will publish the final only after separate assessments of each local body.
Moreover, he said that Coffee plantations would get classification according to local agro-climatic factors and scientific management.
The Chief Minister said that coffee was cultivated in below 65000 hectares of land. More than half of the plantations are 50 years old. New crops should be introduced and productivity should be significantly increased through scientific farming methods. Loan scheme with interest subsidy for replanting would help in reviving the sector, he added.
Other agricultural crops
Due to uncontrolled imports, the prices of cash crops such as paddy, pepper, cardamom and tea are highly volatile. The Central Government must take the responsibility of protecting the farmers from this agricultural collapse caused by the policy of the Central Government.
Pepper, the second most important crop in Wayanad, has been devastated not only by the fall in prices but also by the blight. A special agricultural scheme will be formulated for the rehabilitation of pepper. An amount of Rs 10 crore per annum for five years will be allotted for this, he added.
Kerala has prepared a special package for the rehabilitation of plantations, including tea. The package allows cultivating other fruit trees in plantations without violating land reform laws. It allows promoting farm tourism, tax breaks, removing barriers to local government development activities in the plantation sector.
The Government will provide enough funds for the completion of the Karappuzha Irrigation Project, which started in 1978.
The Pookotte Veterinary University Center will get an upliftment, the Chief Minister said. An amount of `20 crore is set apart annually for the district from the Animal Husbandry Department, he added.
The government is for developing more trekking trails in the district. The Hydel Tourism Center at Banasurasagar will be expanded. Development activities worth Rs 50 crore will be planned by providing more facilities in an environmentally friendly manner, he added.
Elampileri Adventure Tourism Center, Arattuparamada Trekking Center and Kurumbalakotta are some of the projects under consideration, he said. An amount of at least Rs 20 crore per annum will be set apart for tourism development in the district, he said.
Roads and bridges
The Chief Minister said that special emphasis was given to the development of roads in the hilly district Roads worth `255 crore have been sanctioned, he added. As of now, construction work worth Rs 780 crore is underway in the district, he said. The Rs 114 crore Hill Highway is the biggest work undergoing now, he added.
The study of the Konkan Railway’s Thalassery Nilambur stretch is almost complete. The KRDC is entrusted with preparing DPR of Nilambur – Nanjangode Railway.
Education and health
Pointing out that a Medical college for the district was a long pending demand, the Chief Minister said that it would become a reality in 2021-22. As of now, the District Hospital has been upgraded to Medical College.
Apart from these, the comprehensive package has also projects for Adivasis, drinking water and Kudumbasree.