Farmers’ Struggle in the Thrissor District, Kerala

The yatra visted a farmers’ struggle site at Thommana village in Thrissur district on its way to Calicut. In the past their lands were highly fertile and they used to engage in low land paddy cultivation. In the local language, these are called Kolli lands and their pattern of plotting is called Muriyar. The Kolli lands had excellent system that drained out excess water onto the sea.

    In 1980 the state government, in an effort to provide irrigation drain management built a 8 kilometer canal and this canal destroyed the natural drainage system. This also changed the natural flow of back waters. The effect of this is that water gets accumulated inland, thereby increasing the salinity of the land. Today there is 10-12 feet of water standing in their fields. 14000 farmers in 11 villages are affected by this canal. 7000 acres of low-land paddy fields have been affected. The farmers are unable to carry out any farming on their lands. Their livelihoods have been completely destroyed.

 When they announced their satyagraha in 2007, a team of 5 ministers came with the then Chief Minister of Kerala and assured them of a pro-farmer decision but this hasn’t happened so far.  A recent development has been that mining companies are exploring titanium mining in the area and they are forcing the farmers to either mortgage or sell the lands to them.

Later in the day, the yatra visited the following schools in Thrisoor to spread awareness about land and livelihood issue among urban youth: Sakthan Thampuran College, Vivekodayam Higher Secondary school and Salsabeel Green School. Sakthan Thampuran is a college of Mathematics and arts. The students presented a dance choreography emphasizing the importance of adopting a trusteeship attitude towards nature. Salsabeel is an alternative education school that attempts to support a holistic development of its students. The students have numerous opportunities to learn about social issues in addition to the required curriculum and are groomed to be sensitive and responsible citizens. Mahatma Gandhi had visited Vivokadayam school in 1927.

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