Alappuzha (Kerala), Sep 7 (Calcutta Tube) Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Sunday launched at Mancompu near here the Rs.2,111-crore Kuttanad Package for the development of the region.
Kuttanad, the granary of Kerala, is one of the few places in the world where agriculture is done below the sea level. A commission, headed by agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, after a detailed study, had submitted a report to the centre in 2007. The report was approved as the Kuttanad Package in 2008.
Swaminathan, in his report, had suggested promoting Kuttanad as a special agricultural zone on the lines of special economic zones.
The various schemes under the package include controlling floods and salination, cleaning up of the canals and backwaters and buying of power tillers and tractors for increased paddy cultivation.
Under the first phase, 80 projects have been identified. Work on 47 of these will begin soon.
Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal launched the water management works proposed under the first phase of the package at a cost of Rs.151 crore.
Kuttanad, which comes under Alappuzha district, is the home town of the chief minister, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.