Malappuram: Protecting natural resources need not be a losing proposition hereafter if one counts the gains from it in short-term or instant monetary gains. A local body has been paying 'Green Royalty' for civic efforts to save and enrich the natural environment. Ponnani municipality has so far selected 120 people from here for this innovative project and it would pay them monthly royalties.
Environment-friendly campaigners of the civic body have been selected on the basis of their work done to protect ponds, paddy fields, sacred groove, mangroves etc. Those protecting paddy field above 50 cents would be rewarded Rs 2,000. Half this amount will be given to people with less than half an acre paddy field. Land owners with ponds would get a royalty of Rs 2,000 and those with sacred grove and mangroves would get Rs 1,000 monthly.
Jayarajan Kizhakkekalathil, who took to farming after returning from the Gulf, received Rs 5,000 as royalty, as he was taking care of a pond, sacred groove as well as paddy field on his land. “Ours is a joint family and hence, the cultivation of the paddy field was taken care of by the members jointly. We never thought of reclaiming the land for any other purposes. This new move by the government is an encouraging one,” Jayarajan said.
More than the royalty price involved, the municipality initiated this step last year to value the efforts of the green campaigners and to stress the bond between agriculture and environment. By honouring the green campaigners, the municipality aims to encourage the young generation to take up environment-friendly methods, says its chairman CP Muhammed Kunji.
The current year's project was inaugurated by Haritha Kerala Mission executive vice-chairperson TN Seema.
Ponnani municipality, which is noted for its green initiatives, had raised its own rice variety, 'Ponnaryan'. It has also branded the same as 'Ponnari' and marketed it.